Former Navy SEAL from Bin Laden raid banned by Delta for not complying with mask rule

Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY

The former Navy SEAL who claims he shot Osama Bin Laden in 2011 has joined the growing list of people banned from commercial airlines for not complying with the requirement to wear masks.

Delta Air Lines confirmed to USA TODAY Friday that it banned Robert O'Neill from future flights.

“Part of every customer’s commitment prior to traveling on Delta is the requirement to acknowledge our updated travel policies, which includes wearing a mask," airline spokesman Anthony Black reiterated in a statement to USA TODAY. "Failure to comply with our mask-wearing mandate can result in losing the ability to fly Delta in the future.”

As of mid-August, Delta had banned more than 130 passengers for not cooperating with the mask requirement.

Airlines have tightened mask policies, again: Here's what you need to know

O'Neill confirmed he's no longer welcome on Delta flights in a Twitter post Thursday, though he says it was because he posted a now-deleted tweet of him posing maskless in his seat and insinuating that people who wear them are wimps (though his word choice was coarser).

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O'Neill also claimed the post was made in jest: "I had my mask in my lap. Everyone has gone crazy," he wrote in a later tweet linking to a Washington Times story about the Delta incident."

He told Fox News in 2014 that he fired three lethal shots that struck bin Laden's head within a second of seeing the al-Qaeda leader on the upper floor of his Pakistan hideout in 2011.

He was not the only member of the assault team to go public about the raid on bin Laden's secret compound in Abbottabad, which came a little over 10 years after terrorists funded by bin Laden commandeered commercial aircraft and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

A fellow SEAL, Matt Bissonnette published a memoir, "No Easy Day" under the pseudonym Mark Owen, in 2012. Bissonnette didn't submit his book for review prior to publication.

Robert O'Neill, who says he shot Osama bin Laden, is back in the news after Delta Airlines banned him for not complying with its mask policy.
Robert O'Neill, who says he shot Osama bin Laden, is back in the news after Delta Airlines banned him for not complying with its mask policy.

U.S. special operations leaders were critical of O'Neill for making public comments about the raid, calling them an unseemly quest for attention that is damaging to the special forces program.

"There is an expectation inside that community, a code, that they ascribe to that they will not seek recognition for what they do, they will not seek financial gain from what they do," said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary at the time.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Delta Airlines bans Osama bin Laden shooter over mask requirement