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Remember 'The Shooter' Who Claimed to Have Killed Bin Laden? Spec. Ops Community Saying We've Been 'Duped


"He’s off cashing large checks from unsuspecting donors who bought the Esquire pity piece."


(Photo: AP)

Back in February, Esquire Magazine published a lengthy tell-all from the man who allegedly killed Osama bin Laden, referred to only by the article's author Phil Bronstein as "the Shooter."

Details about the mission are still unclear, but Esquire explained that while multiple people shot the terrorist, the Shooter is the one who actually killed him.

The article was a gripping read, claiming that when the Shooter decided to retire after sixteen years of risking life and limb for his country, the government gave him: "Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family."  The Shooter was getting divorced, and was terrified that jihadists would discover his identity and come after his family.

But now Brandon Webb of SOFREP (Special Operations Forces Situation Report) is claiming that the Shooter was not the one to kill Osama bin Laden, but is milking the situation for donations while the man who truly​ killed the terrorist remains out of the spotlight.

In a piece titled "Esquire Is Screwed: Duped by Fake UBL 'Shooter,'" Webb writes:

One story coming out of Joint Special Operations Command is that the Esquire “shooter” isn’t the shooter after all. To be clear, he wasn’t the point man that put the well placed rounds into UBL’s head that ended the terrorist leaders life. Sure he was there, and deserves credit but he wasn’t the man who shot UBL, and ended his life. And this is an important fact that must be clarified.

The actual shooter at Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSW DEVGRU or SEAL TEAM 6) has continued to maintain his professional integrity and has not come forward with the story, and most likely never will. Looks like Esquire and Bronstein are the ones who are really screwed, not their interviewee; our sources say he’s off cashing large checks from unsuspecting donors who bought the Esquire pity piece.

Here are some interesting insider facts:

  • The “Shooter” was removed from his DEVGRU Squadron for talking about the operation openly after being warned to “can it’
  • He was encouraged by leadership to remain in the SEAL community to finish out his career and gain his full retirement benefits
  • Apparently against his concerns about personal security he has been very active on the public speaking circuit  [Emphasis added]

From there, Webb's article features a letter from an anonymous SEAL who raises issues with various aspects of "the shooter's" story.  Much of it is based on insider knowledge ("I don’t know a single SEAL who would be in a rush to assault the third floor with just two men, there is no hostage so there is no need to hurry"), but significant nonetheless.

But the anonymous SEAL's letter concludes with a declaration we can all understand:

Everybody within JSOC knows the shooter is full of it. Shortly after the raid, he was FIRED from DEVGRU because of his mouth and talking too much. This is something that is not told in the article either. He’s the stereotypical guy who was running around at the bar telling all the chicks that he was the shooter. While indeed he did shoot, he shot the body as it was 99.9% dead and dying on the floor. The POINT MAN up the stairs landed his shots to the head, which is why he changed his focus [in the story].

Click here to read Brandon Webb's article in its entirety at SOFREP.

​This post has been updated.



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