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Esquire: Navy SEAL Team 6 'Shooter' who killed Osama bin Laden denied benefits from government; newspaper disputes claim

4:01 PM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
Osama bin Laden, seen in this undated image taken from video provided by the U.S. Department of Defense.
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/WTSP) - A report is being disputed that claims the Navy SEAL Team 6 member who shot Osama bin Laden is not getting health care or an income from the federal government.

The Shooter tells Esquire magazine that when he retired from the SEALs last September, he and his family lost health care coverage.

"I left SEALs on Friday," he told Esquire. "My health care for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night. I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You're out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your 16 years. Go f*** yourself."

Veterans benefits available for Shooter

Since the Shooter left before 20 years, he currently gets no income from the military or pension.

But after the Esquire report came out, Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the U.S. Armed Forces, said the Shooter was mistaken about not having any benefits at all from Uncle Sam.

"Like every combat veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the former SEAL ... is automatically eligible for five years of free healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs," Stars and Stripes reported, linking to the VA website.

The writer of the Esquire article told Stars and Stripes that no one had ever told the Shooter that those VA benefits existed.

Shooter gives details of bin Laden killing

The Shooter discussed with Esquire the witness-protection-like program the Defense Department would set him up with should his name ever get out.

"They [SEAL command] told me they could get me a job driving a beer truck in Milwaukee," he said. ""We'd lose everything."

In case there is some type of retaliatory attack against him for bin Laden's death, he taught his children to hide in a bathroom in the most fortified part of their house.

"[M]y family is always going to be at risk. It's just a matter of finding coping strategies," the Shooter's wife explained.

The Shooter also went into great detail on the night he killed the terrorist mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

"In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead. Bap! Bap! The second time as he's going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again, Bap! same place. That time I used my EOTech red-dot holo sight. He was dead. Not moving. His tongue was out. I watched him take his last breaths, just a reflex breath," the Shooter said.

The Shooter continued: "His forehead was gruesome. It was split open in the shape of a V. I could see his brains spilling out over his face. The American public doesn't want to know what that looks like."

He said the killing took approximately 15 seconds on the third floor of bin Laden's Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound.

The interview is published in Esquire's March 2013 issue.

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