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Twitter Hoax: SEAL Who Killed bin Laden Killed in Battle

Trending on Twitter this morning: “R.I.P. Paul Davis. The Navy Seal who killed Osama Bin Laden died in battle today. Retweet to honor him.”

I came *this close* to re-tweeting but instinct kicked in and I tried to verify the story through an authoritative source. I could not. Rather quickly, though, I located an almost identical story. From August.

Slate (“Don’t Listen to Twitter: The Navy SEAL Who Killed Osama Didn’t Die Today“):


Twitter is at it again. The subject of its latest death hoax: Todd Jones, “the Navy Seal who killed Osama Bin Laden.”

The Navy Times does the debunking for us: “First off, the name of the SEAL who shot Osama has never been released. Second, an official from Navy Personnel Command told Navy Times that there is no SEAL named Todd Jones in their database.”

You can check out the NT article for more, but in short: The tweet appears to have originated from a user who describes himself as a “teen speaking his mind.” (We’re not going to reward him/her by mentioning his/her handle.)

Here was the tweet in question, which was retweeted in some form by more than 10,000 people, including MLB star Chipper Jones and a Green Beret: “R.I.P. Todd Jones. The Navy Seal that killed Osama Bin Laden died in battle today. Retweet to honor him.”

It’s pretty certain that this one is a hoax, too. Why people find it amusing to spread these things, I don’t know. But they do.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.


  1. Tillman says:

    Maybe it’s just because this is a political blog, but I think it was political. I don’t see how anyone could get amusement for tweeting a false rumor, but then again I’ve never been one for cheap thrills.

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  2. FazzerSports says:

    Thought this might be a hoax when I first read it…

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