Fox News Channel said it would give Rob O’Neill, the former Navy SEAL who claims to have fired the head shots that killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, a contributor role at the 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news outlet.
O’Neill will offer military expertise to various programs across the network. Fox News profiled him in a November special report, “The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden,” told over the course of two hours on two different nights.
“Rob O’Neill is an American hero who dedicated his life to serving our country and protecting our freedoms. It’s incredibly rare to have someone in a television contributor role with his leadership experience and expertise at the fighting unit level,” said Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive of Fox News, in a prepared statement. “His military insight will be a major asset to the network, and we are honored to have him.”
During his career in the Navy, O’Neill served as a team leader within the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also known as SEAL Team Six, and completed more than 400 different combat missions within four theaters of war. He was deployed more than a dozen times and took part in high-profile operations including the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama and Operation Neptune’s Spear.
Since being honorably discharged in 2012, O’Neill has provided leadership, management and risk-assessment advice to various organizations as a speaker and consultant, Fox News said.
O’Neill has flirted with greater fame since leaving the military. He did an anonymous interview with Esquire magazine in 2013 about the fateful bin Laden raid, and took part in the Fox News special last year. His disclosures — and those of another Navy SEAL, Matt Bissonette — have fueled debate over whether military personnel engaged in some of the nation’s most critically important national-security initiatives ought to be recognized for their service, or keep the details of their roles in clandestine operations from public scrutiny.