The Navy SEAL that killed Osama bin Laden has talked about how the memory of September 11 gave him courage for the bold 2011 incursion into the terrorist leader's complex, which he and his team believed would be his final mission.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMailTV, Rob O'Neill described the 9/11 memorial in downtown Manhattan as "sacred ground."
He said: "It will always be sacred to me. I've been to the observatory and it's amazing. I think everyone in the world should see the monument.
"It is very humble, I go there from time to time only to realize what is important, to relive the moment and see the incredible work that the staff of the 9/11 commemoration has done."
O'Neill was a member of SEAL Team 6 that assaulted the 9/11 brain complex under the cover of darkness in Abbottabad, Pakistan, seven years ago. O'Neill showed up in 2014 and named himself as the man who fired the killings that ended bin Laden's reign at the top of al Qaeda.
On a dizzying 90F day in Manhattan, the decorated veteran, 42, joined DailyMailTV on the USS Intrepid to analyze the lasting impact of September 11, the largest terrorist attack on US soil that claimed the lives of 2,977 victims.
And he warned Bin Laden's son, Hamza, that he became an important figure within Al Qaeda, who will also meet his father's fate.
The Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden in the audacious 2011 raid on the al Qaeda leader's hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In an exclusive interview with Jesse Palmer of DailyMailTV, O & # 39; Neill reveals how the memory of September 11 gave her the courage to carry out the mission
O'Neill described the September 11 memorial in downtown Manhattan as "sacred ground," adding, "It's very humble, I go there from time to time just to realize what's important."
"It was a beautiful day and then the world changed," said O'Neill. "I was in the operations center and the television went to the breaking news." As a Navy SEAL group, we realized that they only attacked us, and it was seconds before someone said al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden & # 39;
O'Neill stepped forward in 2014 and named himself as the man who fired the murders that ended the reign of Osama bin Laden at the top of Al Qaeda
Tribute: Rob O'Neill has regularly visited the 9/11 site, including the museum to which he donated the uniform he wore when he killed bin Laden.
"It was a beautiful day and then the world changed," said O'Neill. At the time, he was stationed in Germany and had just returned from a peacekeeping mission to Kosovo.
"I was in the operations center and the television came to the breaking news," said O & # 39; Neill. "As a group of Navy SEALs, we realized that they only attacked us, and it was a few seconds before someone said Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden.
"We immediately realized that we were going to war, to Afghanistan and after Al Qaeda."
Before September 11, O & # 39; Neill had only visited New York a few times. "I never knew how much this city would play a role in my life, I've known the families of the victims and the NYPD officers, the New York Fire Department and the Port Authority. that the mission that my team and I did helped them with the healing process, although there will never be closure, healing helps. "
He added: "New York is the largest city in the world".
The Navy's SEAL training is widely considered the most difficult military training in the world, but O'Neill went a step further. He volunteered for Tier 1 units, elite elite special operations, which get the most risky missions.
O & # 39; Neill said: & # 39; To become a Navy SEAL, you need to convince your body to do things over and over again. If your mind stays, your body will follow. Each Navy SEAL has shown that they will not surrender, so for Level 1, you have to enter the mind.
Look for people who can make decisions, communicate effectively and not panic. The calm is contagious
"You learn hand-to-hand combat and the most advanced tactics to a point where you can no longer be taught, there is a selection course and about half of the boys fail to pass."
He added: "You must be able to think clearly when something goes wrong. And when something goes wrong, overcome it & # 39;
Before September 11, O'Neill had only visited New York a few times, and added: "I never knew how much this city would play a role in my life, although there will never be closure, healing helps." In the image: a guest cleans a tear between the names in the Museum and National Memorial of 9/11
O'Neill said: I've come to know the families of the victims and the NYPD, the FDNY and the Port Authority officials. It's amazing that the mission that my team and I did helped them with the healing process. "In the image: firefighters observe how smoke comes from the site of the collapse of the World Trade Center
A guest pauses today among the names on the edge of the pond that reflects the north in the Museum and National 9/11 Memorial during the ceremonies marking the 17th anniversary of the attacks
O'Neill believes that the success of his team in previous missions helped President Obama to decide what was the right equipment for the job. In the photo: President Obama with members of the national security team receiving an update of the mission against Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011
O'Neill completed some 400 missions during his illustrious career. He was part of the mission that rescued Captain Richard Phillips from the Somali pirates and the SEAL Marcus Luttrell in Afghanistan, both heroic stories that became Hollywood hits.
In 2011, after a decade of work by multiple US military intelligence agencies UU., A specific location of bin Laden's whereabouts emerged. The story of the CIA agent who stubbornly tracked bin Laden inspired the movie Zero Dark Thirty.
O'Neill said: "When I was a battlefield interrogator, we interrogated al Qaeda guys.
"To try to catch them by surprise, to get information, I would tell them: Where is bin Laden? & # 39; & # 39;
"The guy would really laugh because it was like nobody found him." He is a ghost. "
He added: "We did not know behind the scenes that many men and women were busy placing it under the administrations of Bush and Obama, it was a tireless job."
O'Neill believes that his success in previous missions helped President Obama decide what was the right equipment for the job.
He said: "Not everyone believed that bin Laden was there, we kept hearing that it was 70-75 percent." President Obama said he was not 100 percent sure he was there, but he was 100 percent sure that after meeting with us we could go and find out and return.
"I do not want to be too political, I support the coalition, the West and our values, but that was a political decision, every first president wants a second term, if we fail in the mission, like it or not, he probably will not be reelected."
O'Neill said he never believed that he would be part of such an important mission, adding: "I wanted to be part of the effort, but I never thought I would be part of the team.
"I was in the right place, at the right time, in the right team that was available, because there are other units that could have achieved it."
O'Neill told Jesse Palmer of DailyMailTV that he never believed he would be part of such an important mission, adding, "I wanted to be part of the effort, but I never thought I would be part of the team."
The Navy's SEAL training is widely considered the most difficult military training in the world, but O'Neill went a step further. He volunteered for Tier 1 units, elite elite special operations, which get the highest risk missions
Weeks before the attack occurred, SEAL Team 6 was called to a secret base.
O'Neill said: "We were informed by the commander of my team, he said:" The reason why they are all here is because this is the closest we have been to Osama bin Laden. "
"They wanted evidence." If we bombed him, there would be conspiracy theories that he was still alive somewhere.
After training all day, the SEALs met and discussed the dangers.
O'Neill said: Nobody had flown these helicopters before, we did not know what kind of air defense technology Pakistan had, we could shoot down. If someone was going to explode him and his whole family, then bin Laden would. "
He added: & # 39; I had the last meals with my family, although I could not count them. I knew I probably would not see my children again.
"We said it out loud, we knew we were going to die, why are we going? We did it for New York."
O 'Neill said there was no doubt about the mission of Team SEAL 6.
& # 39; We all come together for this. We were not giving up on this opportunity. It was an honor to be asked. "
The last thing he did before getting on the helicopter was to call his father, in his hometown of Butte, Montana. & # 39; Had all my equipment and my weapon. I'm holding my helmet in my hand.
"My dad was my best friend when I was a kid." Whenever I called him in combat, he would say, "Be careful, I would like to be able to go with you."
"I would say that I do too, but this time I said, I'm with big boys, do not worry, I thanked him and told him it was time to go to work."
As soon as they arrived at the Abbottabad complex, the mission suffered an early setback when one of the Black Hawks grazed a wall of the complex and was shot down.
The former SEAL told DailyMailTV that his years in active combat have shaped his opinions. "When we started, I wanted to go to war, but after seeing it, he realizes that life is very fragile." In the photo: O & # 39; Neill with President Trump in June 2017
O 'Neill said about killing bin Laden: "I was a meter away and immediately, I knew it was him." I shot him twice in the head when he was standing and then once more on the floor & # 39; ;
O'Neill said: "We were supposed to leave the snipers, a dog and an interpreter, so my team of eight was going to jump from the roof to the balcony on the third floor to shoot Bin Laden out the window.
"When the other helicopter crashed, our pilot took us down and told us to get out."
Team SEAL 6 went to knock on the door of the car, Rob said, "and a thumbs up appeared."
The injured helicopter team did not suffer serious injuries and was already fighting inside. O'Neill went to the second floor and stood behind another SEAL that was evaluating the third floor.
"We knew Bin Laden was up there and we took on suicide bombers, but I squeezed him in the shoulder and climbed up."
On the third floor there were women and the first SEAL jumped on them because they assumed they wore suicide vests. & # 39; It was sacrificing so that someone else could receive the vaccine. Fortunately, the grenade did not explode, "said O & # 39; Neill.
"Tactically, he went one way, so I went for the other to cover his back and when I turned the corner there was Osama bin Laden.
"I was standing a yard away and then I knew it was him, I remember how skinny he was and taller than he thought, around 6. His beard was short and gray.
"He was a high level threat and we had very strict rules of engagement, but he was not giving up."
"I shot him twice in the head when he was standing and then once more on the ground."
With time running, Team SEAL 6 gathered as many computers and as much intelligence as they could find and managed to leave.
"We were rescued by another SEAL team." In the helicopter, I sat next to a friend of mine from a different squadron.He is from Manhattan.He asked who caught him and I said yes.He said: "On behalf of my family , Thank you".
"We all put our watches for 90 minutes until we crossed the border into Afghanistan, I was thinking, if they do not bring us down, we live in. Nobody said anything."
O 'Neill had written farewell letters to his family before the mission. He said: When I came back, the first thing I did was to destroy them because I did not want to read them again.
O'Neill, who has two children from her previous marriage, married Jessica Halpin, 28, last summer. The two visited the White House after their wedding
O & # 39; Neill with his wife Jessica Halpin having a private dinner with President Trump last October. Also present were Fox & Friends co-host Pete Hegset and executive producer of the show, Jennifer Rauchet.
O 'Neill continued: "Then, the pilot comes over the radio and says:" Gentlemen for the first time in their lives, they will be happy to hear this: welcome to Afghanistan & # 39; & # 39;
O 'Neill had written farewell letters to his family before the mission. "When I came back, the first thing I did was to destroy them because I did not want to read them again."
The former SEAL has been criticized for making his story public, but says it was clear to him that he could not keep it secret.
& # 39; Everyone in the community knew what happened. When we landed in Virginia Beach, there was a group of SEAL waiting and cheering.
& # 39; My name was coming out. It is better to realize that there is a threat than to put your head in the sand and pretend not to.
"I do not think I took the credit for [the bin Laden mission]I give credit to my kids. The guy in front of me is a hero, I just turned a corner. "
O 'Neill rejects accusations that he did not fire Bin Laden's shots. "There are people outside who were not there, who do not know anything.
"I have not heard a guy from the mission say that my story is not true, but again, I just did my part."
The 16-year veteran of the elite unit left the army in 2012, four years before retirement, nullifying his right to a pension.
He deployed in more than a dozen active combat duty turns, in four different war zones, O'Neill was awarded 52 times for his service, leaving as the first non-commissioned officer.
He is now a successful motivational speaker and established a foundation, Your Grateful Nation, which helps special operations forces veterans when they leave the army to make the transition to civilian work.
Many have wondered why he and his family would risk so much to present themselves publicly. O 'Neill, who has two children from her previous marriage, was married last summer at the Chatham Inn on Cape Cod with Jessica Halpin, 28.
The 16-year veteran of the elite SEAL left the army in 2012, four years before retirement, nullifying his right to a pension
O & # 39; Neill also has a warning for Hamza bin Laden (pictured), the son of the terror brain who has become a significant terrorific target in his own right and is said to have married a daughter of Mohamed Atta, the leader of 9/11. O & # 39; Neill said: "You stick your head out and they're going to blow you up."
& # 39; What if he was just living my life and they do it [know who I am] and I'm not ready Worried? Not ready. Yes. & # 39;
In 2017, O'Neill published a memoir, The Operator, which had been approved by the Pentagon before its release. He wrote the book, he says, to bring the 9/11 families closer to the feeling of closure.
O'Neill said: "I spoke with a guy last week who experienced the collapse of the South Tower, Thirty of his friends died." He said listen to the story. [of the bin Laden raid], have a name and a face to help you with healing.
"It's the history of the United States." I think people need to know what happened, about the courage of the pilots and all the analysts involved. "
He added: "I think the Richard Marcinko Rogue warrior [about the early history of SEAL units during the Vietnam War] I caught many boys of my generation.
& # 39; I hope The Operator does the same. I hope it helps the humanization of what we do. "
He also has a warning for Hamza bin Laden, the son of the mastermind of terror who has become a target of significant terror in his own right and is said to have married a daughter of Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of 9/11.
Earlier this year, Bin Laden's family said that Hamza had told them: "I'm going to avenge my father."
While that might seem like a threat to O & # 39; Neill, he told DailyMailTV that it would be Hamza who would be killed.
"I would say, do not join the jihad because they are getting closer to you," said O & # 39; Neill.
You take off your head and they're going to blow you up.
You should go, but it will not. He is very arrogant. He will die in a drone attack.
But O'Neill said that his years in active combat have shaped his opinions into an opinion that should be after other options have failed.
"When we started, I wanted to go to war, but after seeing it, he realizes that life is very fragile.
"I would not mind seeing a little more diplomacy, I do not want to war anyone."
O'Neill hopes that the bold incursion and the years of hard work that led to a successful completion has given New Yorkers, and the country in general, a sense of closure.
O 'Neill said: I think it gave a little healing. I am happy to have shown the world that when we met Bin Laden, we had men and women to go and look for him. "