tv The Operator CSPAN August 19, 2017 9:00am-10:00am EDT
for more information about that. into what previous festival coverage click the book fairs tab. next on book tv robert o'neal the former navy seal credited with the kill of osama bin laden . it is my pleasure to welcome you here today. to begin our program this evening please stand and welcome the west covina high school jrotc honor guard.
they support educational programs to engage in civic discourse and learning, membership support special engagements like this evening's event. the impact of this support allows the foundation to continue to continue its important work, allows president nixon's core vision, lasting structure of a more just society, to expand other parts of the country in the world and make differences in people's lives. if you're not already a member i encourage you to join us this evening, where you entered this evening part of the extended nixon family. president nixon was a navy man, he was exempt from the draft in world war zero mac, he never backed down and enlisted
voluntarily in the u.s. navy. he served honorably in the south pacific command airport air transport command eventually becoming its officer in charge and guadalcanal. he was honorably discharged in 1946, didn't retire until 20 years later in 1996 during which time he served as us congressman, us senator and vice president of the united states. as president, richard nixon's commitment to the us military was unwavering. he face the reality of young men being shipped off by the thousands to fight in the jungles of vietnam. facing that challenge, richard nixon focused on negotiating an end to american involvement in vietnam and brought our soldiers home. he negotiated the release of deputies from the hellish prisons of north vietnam and
welcome them home in 1973. he ended the draft and instituted today's all volunteer military. today's secretary of defense, jim matus recently visited the nixon library and from this very podium said an enemy on 9/11 thought he could scare us by hurting us. the maniacs who murdered 3000 innocent citizens of our country and 70 other countries that day of all been taught a hard lesson by the all volunteer military that president nixon was confident could protect our country. that is why the foundation is so honored today to have robert o'neill as our guest. it is my pleasure to introduce the evening's speaker. robert o'neill is a highly decorated navy seal combat veteran and the man who killed osama bin laden. [applause]
>> while wearing the equipment displayed here, equipment which is on display for the first time, he fired the shots that killed osama bin laden during the raid on his compound in pakistan on may 2, 2011. he participated in hundreds of top-secret missions including the rescue of captain richard phillips in 2009. and let the harrowing retrieval of marcus littrell in summer of 2005. [applause] >> following his honorable discharge from the navy in 2012 he cofounded your grateful
nation, a nonprofit that helps the military elite special operations veterans transition into their next successful careers. we are joined this evening on stage by rob clapper who served in the army for two decades and was deployed all over the world, he received the general douglas macarthur leadership award for outstanding leadership throughout his army career and honor that distinguished him for more than 35,000 officers. rob will be joined on stage tonight with gunnar, his lovable black lab service dog. ladies and gentlemen, please stand and welcome two patriots and gunnar, to the richard nixon presidential library. [applause] ♪
[applause] >> what a crowd. >> you look really good. a different wardrobe. >> i'm not going to say anything because we are in the presidential library. great to see so many wonderful friendly faces. those that are friendlier welcome to stand in the back. great to have you with us. we will jump in. you have been patient in waiting. the one question everybody wants to know is how the guy from montana end up in the navy much less having a career like you? >> interesting question. i'm a big believer that life is what happens around you while you are making a plan. 95% of the stuff you worry about never happens anyway. i joined the navy because of a
girl. the first sentence in my book "the operator: firing the shots that killed osama bin laden and my years as a seal team warrior" is about that was i had my heart broken by a girl in montana. i was never going to join the military. i decided i needed to get out of town. i had friends two years older than me who wanted to be marines. when they graduated high school they joined the marine corps in paris islands, that is awesome. the uniforms are incredible. when i decided to leave town i want to join the marine corps. it is better to be lucky than to be good, the recruiter was not in the office. the navy guy was.
i looked over there and the reason i went into the navy was my two marine friends told me i something didn't know, and many of you may not know, the marine corps is part of the department of the navy. just the men's department. i went in there to ask him where are the marines? if anyone will know where he is this guy will, why do you want the marines? i want to be a sniper and the best snipers in the world are in the marines, look no further, we have snipers right here in the navy. you need to be a seal first, no big deal. he glossed over that. i am a 19-year-old kid from montana who didn't know how to swim. not a lot of swimming going on, called at that high-altitude. kind of naïve, this guy is a professional recruiter. why is he going to lie to me? i signed up that day and we watched the recruiting video
after we signed the paperwork. i'm a pickle here, i don't know how to swim. then i started thinking i found out about seal training, probably won't make it through but it is an adventure. i probably won't make it through seal training and then i will have sea stories when i come back, went to the navy and learn 95% of the all volunteer military is there because of a girl. i went to seal training and proved just because that day, not knowing how to swim and joining the navy in 17 years later in osama bin laden's bedroom, just prove that it doesn't matter where you are from or what you look like you can do anything you want as long as you avoid negativity, stay positive as work hard. >> and run away from a girl. >> a lot of things, look at our
45th president. he beat hillary. it is funny. [applause] >> i thought i wouldn't gets political. >> that went out the door. you touched on it. you didn't know how to swim. that might be something you need to do for seal training. >> that was an interesting one. i didn't know how to swim but figured how hard can it be? i went into the pool, played college basketball, i didn't know any technique, standing at the edge of the pool, 25 m down and 25 m back, and meters engaging a workout. everything was working out until
i entered the water. so i got back to where i could touch my toes, did two lengths, not even 50 yards and i'm exhausted and a buddy of mine, one of the few guys that did swim went on to swim in notre dame came up to me, mike driscoll, he said it is great to see you but i have never seen you in the pool before. i just joined the navy today and i am going to be a seal. he said not like that you are not. he taught me the breast stroke and side stroke. i signed up for the delayed entry program, to swim. and i went to the navy. >> you made it through boot
camp, got to southern california. talk about your first couple experiences. >> every seal goes through training, underwater demolition seal training, the hardest training in the world. 85% of people don't make it. it is and a lot of books and movies, essentially a beat down for eight months. it gets so hard, i remember being there. i know i have a past, i came from somewhere, i don't have a future, i am just going to be in hell and that is it. that is when we learn how to compartmentalize everything, not how do i get from now to graduation, this is good advice for life, how do i get this
long-term goal done, it is like wake up in the morning on time and make your bed the right way, brush your teeth, little victories, make it to 5 am work out on time and make it to breakfast, think about getting to lunch and after lunch get to dinner, do what you need to do to get back in a perfectly made bed regardless how bad your day was, get a fresh start tomorrow. i had an instructor tell me when you feel like quitting, which you will, and i did every day, don't quit now, just quit tomorrow. little victories and all of a sudden 5 days before graduation i was thinking now what am i supposed to do? little victories, never a long-term goal. seal training 1000 push-ups a day, thousands set ups today, there was a spot we would get
tortured and it was a mile from there to the chow hall so every day we are running 6 miles just to eat and that is not even working out. that is additional 14 miles a day. really tough course. one of the traits that is common, it is so bad. what horrible decisions, why didn't she dump me, why am i here? it comes with a sense of humor, don't be afraid to enjoy yourself every single day. smile because about this, none of us are getting out of this alive. i don't believe in statistics the 10 out of 10 people die. so enjoy yourself. >> talk about sense of humor, clearly army guys have a better
one but -- >> they have a lot of time to think about jokes while we are doing a mission. [laughter] >> we won't talk about who pull you off the mountain side. you talk about sense of humor, why don't you share one or two stories, you first got introduced to a sense of humor. >> first time i realized there was a sense of humor aspect was 220 of us started, navy sailors that wanted to be sealed and we read the books and we had seen the movie but we didn't know what seal training was. what do we do every day? status in a room, brought a seal instructor it in to explain to us what we are going to do.
by the way, sense of humor is common. we learned the first day this instructor came in how walking on a stage, looking at him like you are looking at me except we are terrified, this guy is superman, he can kill us if he wants to. he is the first seal we ever met and he looks like a seal. shined boots, blue t-shirt, he is ripped, tattoos down to his knuckles. he is a navy seal so of course he is ridiculously good-looking. we are staring at him and he relished the silence. he finally broke it by saying
looking good today, jim. not you, me. i know what you are thinking, i look a little tired, it is because i am. i have been up all night, had to get my wife out of jail. she was arrested for shoplifting earlier that afternoon, we were leaving the mall together, had her arm around me. security thought she was trying to steal an anatomy chart. we are sitting there like what is this psychopath talking about? we later realized he was messing with. he was early, he was bored, he thought he would have fun at our expense. he might decapitate you. have to get used to a dry sense of humor. on the osama bin laden mission i was in a helicopter that didn't crash, which is a good thing. when we got and we didn't know
the other one crashed. when we got inside the house, the guys in my helicopter didn't know it crashed, helicopter crash, what helicopter crashed? i thought other guys got shot down, our helicopter crashed. you walked right past it. i am trying to calculate this in my head and one of the snipers was running around the entire compound to make sure there was no out, going to the famous place, the tale of the helicopter, he didn't know it crashed. as we had the conversation he said be on alert, they are ready for us. they have a training mockup of our helicopter. in the front yard. the most important mission since normandy and you hear the ground
force commander go no, you jackass, it is ours, we crashed. you had this awkward pause and he said that makes sense. [laughter] >> we stayed funny the whole time. >> obviously seal training is relatively long. lots of ups and downs but what is the one story related to that? what is the one story about -- >> we would test every single day, make sure you stick around, pass or fail, keep -- it is hard to understand, not like an algorithm.
one of the tests is simple to understand, 50 m underwater swim. jump in the pool, don't pick it up from half a distance from the football field. 5.5 nautical miles. they would tie our hands behind our backs and throw it in a deep end of the pool for 45 minutes at a time, exhaling the air out of your lungs, float for 5 minutes, swim hundreds of meters, and introducing what it is like to breathe but panic will not help. it was underwater -- tie a rope a foot off the bottom, 14 feet
down, on the surface there will be a student and instructor, and 18 rindge rope and we are in the navy so we know how to tie a bunch of not so the test is tying a series of knots with his robe around that rope. the instructor will stay on the surface, breathing and watching. you back off, stay down, he comes down slowly. you act like you haven't seen it before, it isn't always wrong, he will go up for air and it is straight enough and we tie the same knots, a minute and 15 seconds. one breath of air.
it is not number 2. do the whole thing again. another minute and 50 seconds. the test is simple, try five not in a row. a friend of mine named john, they will you try a certain amount of time. there will never be a navy seal, lifelong dream, that is a lot of pressure. on his fifth not he drowned. the instructor came down, swam him up and threw him over the side, rolled him over, the other side of the pool gathering stuff, running around, too much time, doing a stern robe and started cpr and we could hear him yelling come back to the
light. the instructors that back, and color back in his -- he didn't kill him. i am in a great mood right now, let you in on a little secret, don't care how many knots you know how to tie, not part of the curriculum to become a navy seal, we will see how far you can push yourself. you just did that. >> what was your first
assignment? >> they are divided by numbers so odd numbers are 1357, even number, 624810. we did more training, a year of training pre-9/11. so fast forward, 9/11 happens. what is going through your head? you had a major career change. >> we were all affected, some more than others. i was deployed overseas and we saw it happen when the second plane hit south tower, we knew it was al qaeda. the whole thing was life happened around you, my plan after i found out what a seal was to be in the navy four years, go to montana, i met the guys, didn't want to leave them.
i was young when 9/11 happened. my country trained me to fight, i need to fight and found out another seal team, we knew -- it changed from going to the uk, to the german norwegian -- we are going to afghanistan, iraq, fighting the global war on terror. everything changed, from october process to jalalabad. >> you had interesting career. one of the main operational missions you were part of was the rescue of captain richard feldman. take us through that. >> for richard phillips we were in virginia beach. it was good friday in 2009.
i was at my daughter's easter tea party. we set up a buffet line, a school where marine corps parent and army parents going through this buffet line to get cookies and stuff. as i was walking to my daughter i got a message, and we will get him now so went to say goodbye. i mentioned that was part of combat. getting shot at is easy, looking your kids in the eye and realizing it is the last time you will see each other is hard. there is a difference between kissing your kid good night and kissing your kids goodbye so i kissed her goodbye and turned around and went to work. a funny part of the story, a set amount of time to get there and rescue anyone, a certain amount of time, a set amount of time,
we had never done it in 25 years. i was ahead of schedule and there's a 7-11 outside the base where i worked and i stopped there to get as much cash as i can out of the atm and the reason i'm doing this is we are jumping near the east coast of africa, we might not end up where we once. if we land in this environment i might find my way to safety with cash or to barter with tobacco. might end up on an east african beach. and the guy in front of me, one guy in no hurry, he finished the night shift doing whatever not a care, one thing, usa today, the headline, the richard phillips thing, the mission we are trying
to do, signed it down, slam it down, announce the entire store. right behind him, recognizing the irony. we are going to do something about this. i am not even kidding, national security timeline. he moved out of the way and i got to work on time and 15 hours we were later in the indian ocean and rescued mister phillips a day and a half later. if you think, the movie wasn't accurate.
good movie but wasn't accurate. >> i was going to ask how accurate is the movie? >> depends who is asking. right here 70% accurate. happy hour i was talking to a lady, 100% accurate. the sniper, that wasn't the mission, we were going to rescue the hostage. four days prior, their guns didn't need to be cited, the most difficult shots. they were prepared. a long weekend, easter sunday we hadn't done it in 25 years. they could have been lazy, didn't take a picture. >> mission success. fast forward 2011, you end up following a clandestine operation, talk everybody
through saying goodbye to your family and the impact. >> i mentioned saying goodbye to your kids. i have daughters and said goodbye to them on the bin laden raid, the one we knew we weren't coming home from. this was a 1-way mission. we are going to get shot down, run out of fuel, encounter pakistanis, we are not coming back. we were going to say goodbye, taking my kids to chick-fil-a and having a last meal, couldn't tell them it was the last time we see each other. we were so convinced we weren't going to make it at the guys at -- we didn't have a set line, but the guy bringing me to bin laden's bedroom pulled me aside and did don't take this the wrong way, i am going, but if we know we are going to die, why are we going? which is legit. i said we are not going for
fame. we are going for the single mom who dropped the kids off at school on tuesday morning at 45 minutes later jumped to her death out of a skyscraper because that is better than burning alive inside. her last gesture of human decency was holding her skirt down. she didn't want to do that. she wasn't in the fight. we are in the fight and that is why we are going. i had to write a letter to my kid, the one kid i mentioned who was 4 years old, was also one year old when we rescued one survivor who was 7. the poor girl has been through everything. i wrote her a letter. didn't write a letter to a 7-year-old girl but a 27-year-old woman and i'm sorry i missed her wedding. i know you are beautiful, take care of your sister and your mom.
10 she and her sister going away present, young girls, daddy is never coming home, i am walking out of this mall getting ready for the bin laden raid, i wasn't scared, just focused. as i'm walking out of this mall, one of those kiosks, glasses on sale. $240, i am a chief in the navy, i can't afford these but i will be dead next week, american express. so i was wearing these sunglasses but then start thinking of ever works the way it is supposed to, what if we need to drive to the embassy? if we do that the sun will be
up. i carried a pair of sunglasses into osama bin laden's bedroom. didn't think it about it at the time because we had a lot going on so we got back from where we are not supposed to live, i reached down, you got to be kidding me. than something i won't be in the navy forever, maybe i should get into marketing. a billboard for the navy seal, keep bringing that up and a gun. a lethal pair of sunglasses and all it says is if you only have one day left to live you might as well enjoy. [applause] >> mission success. everyone came home. >> we did. >> fast-forward another year and a half, make the decision to
leave the navy. talk to the group about that process and more importantly what you experienced. >> we finished the bin laden raid it was a team effort. the greatest team ever assembled come my team as part of the coalition, kill osama bin laden. we were on the base but it didn't work out. one of my loving army brothers set i am the forest gump -- i'm not good at running. getting to that point, we had a helicopter get shot down august 6, 2011, lost 31 americans and it was like what happens now? i don't mean to do this anymore,
i decided to start processing and didn't know what i was doing. wasn't going to get a pension and didn't know who would hire me. certain skills as a special operator, stress management, teambuilding, they will hire, i was forced to find people in the dc area going to virginia beach and realized people will employ us, started a foundation called a grateful nation. special operators transition because people want to hire, the individualized, what the operator wants to do, find where he or she wants to live, and get a mentor and started out as veterans get jobs, your country and economy gets better. [applause]
>> other than this nixon library event what brought you to california this week? >> i gave a speech in san francisco. i gave a speech, motivational speech to a company called google. i think they are going to be all right. friday morning i am taping the jim jefferies show. he is very famous anti-gun dude. i'm taking him to the range to shoot an ak-47. we will try to slap some liberalism out of him. only joking around. >> wrapping up, closing thoughts
on the experiences you had, anything you want to lead the group with? >> last year, between 250 to 300 speeches, what is unique, i talked to people, meet people, shake hands. i am on the news but refreshing to get away because the country is not as bad as we think it is. there is a lot that is pretty positive. it is fun even on tv and other networks, 65% of people think trump won the election. i 10,000 people last weekend
they disagreed. what i learned is the country is more patriotic than people think. a lot of news media doesn't report that because they want ratings. it is a great country. [applause] >> people in the audience want to find out more about mentoring, employment opportunities. >> yourgratefulnation.org is the website. it is helping veterans, any from awareness, checking it out, he newsletters, seeing the veterans, donations are great or if you want to hire -- robert j
o'neill.com, the operator five times to give you room. bin laden dies in chapter 23. [applause] >> gentlemen, thank you. we are able to do two quick questions. we are pressed for time. the first one is going to come from -- >> the county supervisor, i have known you. you are in the most patriotic region in the entire country, orange county, california. [cheers and applause] >> i want to thank you for your patriotism and service, we are forever indebted. a great story about how to turn
a mistake into a positive. it has to do with doorknobs. >> a funny story, thanks for bringing that up. we are big believers that everybody fails and if you accept failure you will learn from it. good decisions come from experience and bad decisions come from bad decisions. we learned something, it was important to sneak up on houses, don't land next to them, don't blow up the doors, one of these times sneaking up on a target in iraq, all of the sudden people start moving around the house, we see this happening and they were like okay, high-value individual we are not going to leave, we are going to put a bomb in the door and go in hot
so i was point man, and methods of entry getting in the door or whatever, called him to the door and what he decided to do was grab a 7 foot charge of c -- you have heard of c4. this is c6. it does two of whatever c4 does. it looks like a fruit rollup. it is sticky and not as delicious. what you do is put it on the door and roll it down and back away, walk to a minimum safe distance, big loud boom. the door opens like this. the hinges are there. he had his weapon on a sling and needs security so that is me. the door opens and i will hold right here. he is putting it on. we are doing this, my boss, keep
in mind, this is one of the best deals i ever served, 16 years of one of the best. he comes walking up not to micromanage but just to observe and he put his elbow on the doorbell. being! you could tell he doesn't want to move it. it is going to go bonk! right here and it happens he can't yell because that is his boss. being fiscally conservative and not not wanting to waste taxpayer money he starts to roll it back up, all nonchalant. i am standing here holding the door and i don't want to be here anymore because when this happens terrorists shoot through the doors. i don't want to be there.
the door opens, the terrorist we are looking for. he and i share this awkward -- i grab him, get cuffs on him, put my knee in the small of his back, let's do that every night. the point of the story, what we learned from that, we have been fighting in afghanistan so long, there are no doorbells in afghanistan, there are in iraq. very simple. >> final question, you guys got so big we had to move into another venue. robert o'neill, your story is full circle for the families of 9/11. what would you say to those families? >> that is the reason i told the story. i talked to family members every
day. i live a lot of times in new york city having an argument with my fiancée or whatever, stress level is too high, go to a memorial and realize what is important. you hear stories from 9/11, people talk about that. how much they love you. when i talked to surviving member, and a lever, it will never be closure but it helps to heal. people say aren't you afraid? i assume the risk and i will do it again. i gave a speech to 30 survivors of 9/11. everybody should watch in school, 15 minutes of footage of 9/11.
the realism of the enemy out there. by over drink, would like to watch 30 people hit the ground, said i could sleep better at life, the most evil man on the planet. it is worth it, something that happened to us because of a horrible version of a prehistoric religion and we have to realize that. helping with that closure, i don't have any regrets at all. bin laden got what he deserved. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, robert o'neill. they will find their books. sign their books. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] >> here is a look at some others recently featured on booktv's afterwards, our weekly offer interview program. arizona center jeff flake called for a return to the core principles of conservatism. journalist jesse i think are examined how the justice department handles white-collar crimes. connecticut representative rosa delauro discussed her work on social programs. in the coming weeks on afterwards wall street journal writer and editor george malone will offer his thoughts on his publication's influence.
mark levin warned against federal government expansion. this weekend on afterwards former breitbart editor milo your novelist explores limits on freedom of speech. >> i met journalist and practiced journalism and five countries and american journalists are by clear margin the dumbest people in the world. people with yous of 95 interviewing those of us with interviews -- just not capable of understanding subtlety or nuance. where they detect it they use it to quote racism. anything ambiguous. for me, trolling is about sweeping away all concerns about what people might say about your think about you safe in the knowledge that if you tell the truth and do it in an entertaining way that you will win more fans than the media has made enemies for you. i am proof of that, donald trump is proof of that, there are plenty of other people in the
new right movement on the internet who are proof of that. with the exception of the president i am the biggest personality in that ecosystem. there are lots of us. what they'll realize is there are things even right-wing publications will brazenly -- that is not okay. >> afterwards airs on booktv every saturday at 10:00 pm and sunday at 9:00 eastern. you can watch all previous afterwards programs on our website, booktv.org. >> i can see after isis ceases to exist i can see them bringing in bin laden to be the new leader of al qaeda. he is young, millennial, he was trained for the last 7 or 8 years by the top commanders in al qaeda, people his father did not have access to because they were together and house arrest
and he gets married to the number 2 person, al qaeda's daughter who has been involved in every terrorist attack that happened against us and in the world, masterminded the embassy bombings himself. hands the is going to be the person and already has 5 different messages. at the beginning they called him brother of osama bin laden. in the last message, announcement and message both referred to him as sheikh which indicates promotion because you cannot be the leader of al qaeda without that title. if you listen to his statement and i have been listening, you will see something interesting. he never attacks isis. never mentions the caliphate,
never attacked al qaeda. that is something. how does that say what is happening in iraq and syria and somalia, what is happening in out syria, what is happening everywhere, all these guys are mujahedin and followers of osama bin laden. you people in the west need to be in kandahar, we are everywhere. his tone, he tried to copy his father, tried to copy his father, the tone of osama bin laden and his message identical. same statements sometimes. last statements, the one before last where he gave his commandments for martyrdom operatives, he said try to kill
as many people as you can, don't just take a knife, try to do it right and he said leave a message why you did it and i am telling you why you did it. i am telling you what to say. the land of the two holy places meaning saudi arabia is occupied. we did not hear that since osama bin laden died. we did not hear that since 9/11. he brought it back. palestine. if we don't live in peace in palestine you will never know peace in america. that is something bin laden said himself. we did not hear that in how long? long time ago. then you talk about stealing the wealth of the muslim world, we did not hear that for a long
time. he only adds once we did not hear his father talk about. what is happening in syria. the murders of the assad regime and the russians as we are doing attacks in the west because you are supporting them. all the things he added. frankly he cannot not mention syria, one of the largest affiliates of al qaeda. he is bringing back the original message of osama bin laden. i talk about his character, his childhood. he was a poster child for al qaeda. if you look at the old videotapes of al qaeda he is saying fiery speeches, training with the mujahedin and he said when i was in jail i learned a lot and you will be proud of me. i learned about this, learned
about that but now i see forged by steel, i am ready to march with the mujahedin. bin laden wanted only two people to come and join him. his wife, a phd older than him and only has one son. his wife wasn't just a wife. she was his advisor. she was his wordsmith. he wanted her -- she missed his wife after being in jail in iraq for 7 or 8 years, wanted her to come and threatened his commander if you don't bring her here i will myself bring her here. this guy lost his mind, what do you mean? then you know why. he wanted her to basically work
on his statement on the anniversary of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. wanted her to tell him what to say. when they could not bring her to him he was convinced finally and sent her a letter, the 10th anniversary is coming and you know how important this is. his chief of staff, to buy a computer and stop working on the statement for the 10th anniversary, she pushed hansa toward following in his father's footsteps, the woman behind the father and the son. today, we see al qaeda trying to wait until isis -- i believe isis totally dwindled. i knew in