US Navy SEAL (illustration)
US Navy SEAL (illustration) Reuters

The US Navy SEAL's senior leadership has written a letter condemning an upcoming Fox News two-part special next Tuesday and Wednesday, in which former Red Squadron Navy SEAL Robert O'Neill is anticipated to take credit for shooting Al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden.

The flap was revealed by SOFREP, a website dedicated to US military and special-ops news, which noted O'Neill is likely the former SEAL Team Six member called "The Shooter" in an Esquire Magazine interview in March that detailed the May 2011 raid on Bin Laden's Obottabad hideout in Pakistan.

In a letter signed by Rear Admiral Brian Losey, Commander of Naval Special Command (NSWC), and Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci, the SEAL leadership said its fighters are "quiet professionals," adding "little individual credit" is given due to the "nature of our profession."

Likewise, the letter pointed out that years of intelligence gathering and other work go into an operation like the one in which Bin Laden was eliminated, meaning individual soldiers should not claim the success for their own.

Those violating the "ethos" of discretion "are neither teammates in good standing, nor teammates who represent Naval Special Warfare," said the letter. It added revealing classified information is illegal, and that "judicial consequences" await SEALs who violate the law.

O'Neill is not the only SEAL targeted by the letter, as former SEAL Team Six member Matt Bissonnette has also come in for flak for writing "No Easy Day" under the pen name Mark Owen, in which he detailed his role in the raid.

In response to the letter, former Navy SEAL and FBI Special Agent Jonathan Gilliam wrote back "please explain to our community how sending an open letter to your "Teammates" through the press, preaching about the quiet professional, was somehow the proper example to your fellow SEALs."

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