Phil Bronstein got the first interviews with the man who actually fired the bullets that killed Osama bin Laden—a man who is a hero to most Americans, but whose story since leaving the Navy has not been a happy one. Bronstein, the former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, talked to multiple members of the Navy SEAL team that carried out the famous mission, and says he has confirmed the identify of the man who pulled the trigger, though he won't be revealing his name.
"The Shooter," as Bronstein refers to him in the piece, was a long-time veteran of the Navy who is well aware of the gravity of what he did, but is now forced to live a life of obscurity and financial instability after leaving the military with almost nothing to show for his heroic deeds. Bronstein's story adds a ton of fascinating first-person details about the mission to kill bin Laden, taken directly from the man who was the last to see him alive. But perhaps, even more interesting than the raid, is the fate of those who lived to tell about it.
Unlike Matt Bissonette, the outed SEAL teammate who immediately wrote a book about his story, The Shooter has avoided any attempts to cash in on his fame—partly because of "the code of the 'quiet professional'" and partly because he fears reprisals from terrorists should his identity become known. His wife, who he is separated from, and kids are considering changing their names to legally distance themselves from The Shooter. He also taught her how to use a shotgun, should she have to defend herself in an attack. But The Shooter, mired in anonymity, finds himself out of work and unable to use his most marketable asset to his advantage.