Killing Bin Laden: SEALs shouldn't go public

November 13, 2014, 4:39 PM GMT+0

Most Americans think the Navy SEALs who took part in the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden shouldn't take public credit for their actions

On Wednesday night former Navy SEAL Robert O'Neill gave his account of the killing of Osama Bin Laden by American special forces in 2011. This account is at odds with two other versions of what occurred this night, as one other SEAL also says that he was the man that killed Bin Laden. Beyond the difficulties in ascertaining what exactly happened that night, the fact that two former SEALs have come forward to take credit for their part in the killing of Bin Laden is highly unusual. Special forces soldiers generally keep to a code of silence that extends beyond their legal duty to protect national secrets, and O'Neill has faced criticism from his former comrades for cashing in on his story.

YouGov's latest research shows that most Americans (67%) think that members of the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama Bin Laden should make keep their identities secret. Only 13% think that the SEALs who took part in the raid should take public credit for their role.

While 13% of Americans say that the SEALs should be able to take public credit today, 29% of people say that it would be OK if they did so at some point in the future. 40% think that the SEALs who took part in the raid should never take public credit for the role they played.

Asked, however, whether a SEAL known to have participated in the raid should be able to sell their story, people are somewhat more supportive. 28% of Americans approve of a SEAL selling their story of the raid, while 47% disapprove. Opposition to selling the story is highest among Democrats (52%) and over-65s (51%), while approval is highest among Republicans (36%) and men (34%).

Asked specifically about the SEAL who shot and killed Bin Laden, 49% said that he should not take public credit for his actions, while 28% said he should.

Full poll results can be found here.