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Ex-Navy SEAL who claimed he killed Osama bin Laden banned from Delta after maskless selfie

The former Navy SEAL who claims he's the one who killed Osama bin Laden during a 2011 raid tweeted on Thursday that he was banned from Delta Air Lines for not wearing a mask. Robert O'Neill took a maskless selfie of himself on Delta flight on Wednesday, posting it on Twitter with a vulgar caption.

In the background of the now-deleted photo can be seen another passenger and a flight attendant who are both wearing masks — which are mandatory on commercial flights to help protect everyone on board from the coronavirus.  "I'm not a p****," O'Neill captioned the selfie. 


O'Neill deleted the photo, but it still gained widespread attention — including attention from the airline. On Thursday, O'Neill tweeted that he had been banned from Delta for posting the picture. 

In a statement to CBS News, Delta confirmed it had banned O'Neill. So far, the airline has banned 160 passengers due to its mandatory mask policy.

"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," Delta said in a statement. "Failure to comply with our mask-wearing mandate can result in the ability to fly Delta in the future."

In another tweet, O'Neill said he had a mask on his lap. He also knocked the airline, writing, "Thank God it wasn't @Delta flying us in when we killed bin Laden... we weren't wearing masks..."

Many Twitter users pointed out that bin Laden was not killed during a pandemic. Mask mandates have been put in place by many U.S. cities and businesses this year because they are seen as an effective way to help prevent the spread of the virus

Others pointed out that O'Neill's claims that he killed bin Laden are controversial and have been disputed by other Navy SEALS involved in the highly-classified mission. In 2014, O'Neill went public with the claim that he shot bin Laden three times in the face. Details of the raid were classified, as were the identities of SEAL Team 6 members. 

As CBS News' Margaret Brennan reported at the time, the 24 Navy SEALs who executed the raid were sworn to secrecy, part of the lifelong pledge taken by all members of the elite force. O'Neill chose to leave the military after more than 16 years of service. He was honorably discharged, but his early departure cost him a government pension.

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