November 14, 2014 8:39 AM EST

The former Navy SEAL who claims to have fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden said Friday that he was inspired to reveal his secret after meeting with the families of victims from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“I think it’s a difficult secret to keep,” Robert O’Neill said on CBS. All 23 SEALs who participated in the raid in Pakistan in 2011 were sworn to secrecy.

O’Neill, in interviews on CBS and NBC, said sharing his story with the families of 9/11 victims, and seeing the closure it gave them, prompted him to come forward.

He claims to have shot bin Laden three times in the face. Going public has prompted criticism from some but he told NBC he’s “prepared” for the backlash.

Read next: Why Navy SEALs Are Supposed to Keep Their Mouths Shut

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