Loose Lips Sink Ships: “I Shot bin Laden”

Last night I had the opportunity to share my personal thoughts with Megyn Kelly on Fox News about Rob O’Neill’s “coming out” party that he was the SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden.

The interview ended before I was able to respond to a few of the points made by the former SEAL who was on the show with me. He has profited greatly from his books and appearances describing in detail the classified operations he was on while attached to a unit that officially does not exist.

If you haven’t seen the segment, check it out and then read my thoughts below:

https://vimeo.com/111893303

His main points that I did not get a chance to reply to were:

  1. The administration put out the information first.
  2. The information being revealed can already be found online.
  3. Our Admiral did not send the same threatening letter to the President and Vice President of the United States of America as he did to current and former members of the NSW community.
  4. We need to support our brothers.

“The administration put out the information first.”

I don’t support this administration or their illegal actions of disclosing details of classified operations…but apparently some do. By using their dangerous breaches of OPSEC as support for detailing their time at an organization that is not supposed to exist, these former SEALs are supporting our enemies’ intelligence collection. Other than putting money in their pockets, I can find no good in collaborating with the Obama administration. By confirming any information that is leaked, no matter where it came from, we are making it more likely for the the practice to be accepted in the future.

OPSEC” is the process of protecting little pieces of data that could be grouped together to give the bigger picture.

“The information being revealed can already be found online.”

Terrorists also have manuals on the internet detailing how to make bombs to kill Americans — so because it’s on the internet, should I try to write a bestselling book about how we build bombs in the SEAL Teams? Should I say that I built bombs like this and they work great? No! One of the key tenets of OPSEC is not to confirm any information that has already been disclosed. We then need to work on plugging the leak to stop the exploitation of friendly critical information.

“Our Admiral did not send the same threatening letter to the President and Vice President of the United States of America as he did to current and former members of the NSW community.”

I’m not a politician or an Admiral, but I do know that in the past high ranking military officials who have told their boss what to do quickly ended up without a job. By sending a letter to the members under his command, Rear Admiral Brian Losey did the best he could to stop the unauthorized disclosures and send a message up the chain without getting a pink slip.

“We need to support our brothers.”

Any assumption that I do not support my brothers because I do not support a very small minority of them who have chosen to collaborate with the illegal actions of the administration and either give or confirm details of classified operations for material gain is pure ignorance.

Maybe if I wrote books detailing operations I did in the teams and knew I was giving away details about how my brothers and I operate overseas for financial gains, I too would support others’ breaches in OPSEC. But I don’t.

I support many military and SEAL charities, giving both my time and money. I’m on the board of directors for the Navy SEALs Fund, which supports active and retired SEALs and their families, and have taught more civilian courses to benefit charity events than I have for my own business.

Loose lips sink ships

I’m not saying that these men are not heroes for what they’ve done and they deserve our respect and admiration for what they did while they were active. But if people want to know what happens on SEAL operations, they can go through BUD/S to find out. We don’t need to tell them how we plan and execute our operations.

In the past, this country understood, “Loose lips sink ships.” Now, some seem to be looking for excu$e$ to break this common sense approach to Operational Security.

Even if you do have the right to talk about sensitive information, you have a responsibility not to. Loose lips do sink ships and I have a feeling the spotlight these former SEALs have chosen to shine on themselves is going to illuminate more about themselves than they may have liked.

Although it too has lost its permanent commitment in some, receiving your security clearance is a bit like marriage. It is a commitment that marks a permanent change in your life. You accept new responsibilities and will be expected to meet them, until death do us part. Your responsibility to protect the classified information that you learn about is a LIFELONG obligation. It continues even after you no longer have an active security clearance. Your signed Nondisclosure Agreement is the only form held on file long after you retire.


 

12 Comments

  1. Divide and conquer… sadly the community is dissolving. Right or wrong will depend upon perspective but the division is present now, can be wedged open. And of course this happened upon Obama’s (so called) watch and he is happier than can be described. Turn all the anger at the biggest danger to the US, Obama!

    1. I agree this can of worms was opened by Obama, but the larger issue goes back further than that.

      I don’t think we’re divided. I still stand by my Brothers, but look at like we’re going down a path and they headed in the wrong direction. I’m supporting them by pointing them in the right direction. Letting them go somewhere I believe is wrong would not be supporting them.

      I don’t think they have bad intentions, but just need to get back on the right path.

      1. Anybody who compromises classified operations, especially for personal gain, is showing their lack of respect for their country, their organization, their peer group, and especially their families. It shows a total disregard for their sworn commitments. They, at the very least, are opening themselves, their family and their fellow service members up for retribution. It’s like sending an invitation to Al-Qaeda or ISIS, with your name and address, to come for a visit.

        Perhaps the Seals need to institute a training class emphasizing the use of common sense.

        1. Right on “Hunter Of Gunmen” (HoG)! It appears that, compared to when you and I served in Viet Nam, that ethics and morals have taken on a new meaning.
          Semper Fi brother.

      2. The CIF took advantage for his political gain. And should have zipped his lips. But truly he backside isn’t in the true line of fire, nor do I think he even has any idea what that truly means.

        It seems as though, there are becoming two ways of the ‘system’ “the old way” where you went to your grave with it. I say that because most of the information preformed by any SFOs is classified, should stay that way. They signed their name on that line confirming they read it and understood it and should at least respect that their word means something. And “the new way” write a book about the ops, go on TV, play video game makers by showing off weapons, make a movie, go on TV announcing to the world X, Y and Z, etc. Truly if these men want recognition for their work than find a different job because an operator job is not meant for them. And that includes the CIF, all the cabinet and anyone else in the field.

        I think you said it correctly. They really need to get themselves “back on the right path”. How they do that, how quickly and how well will determine the course for the Brotherhood and other loose lips issues/cases.

        Then hopefully, the media can get some good ADD and find something else to report on.

        But that’s just my opinion, and well…you know the saying about opinions.

        Thank you for your service and taking the time to address the statements that needed. LLTB

  2. Hooyah Sir,in this case UBL shooter let afew go …were he&team were when WTC 911 went down (Euro” …What other AGI’s will piece 2gether a history ..a NY’r on Op….tactics of watch&resistance 2 interrogation ..on the flip side when ppl read Books by SEALs are they not all giving something out my bu “@/sos4usweets” < NorthIsland Swim Club ..hahaaa

  3. Interesting though would have liked the interview to go further. Is there no confidentialality, you men go through such extreme intense trainings to be a Navy SEAL should that not require such? Loose lips do sink ships. Does being a Navy SEAL not get the highest of respect or do you need to draw it upon what you’ve accomplished for ones own gain. Is it not a Brotherhood made up of All Extrodinary Men of Greatness? That’s what I’m learning from your articles and books such as American Sniper. I would have loved to have heard more . Good job Sir .

  4. Can I respect and be very grateful, yet not like a hero? I think I can.
    As Robert O’Neill says in defence of ‘himself’ (Fox) “one of the things we fight for is freedom and one of the freedoms is speech”. So I say I am VERY grateful but I don’t like Robert O’Neill, because I watched a man who was busy thanking everybody who was involved (well of course, that’s an important part of a self-promo) while he wallows in his own ‘personal’ glory.

    The world watches and our enemies watch, and if I were an enemy I’d be smiling each time a Navy SEAL member broke from their ‘TEAM’ ex or not ex – for personal gain or for whatever reason. And there is no doubt in my mind that this hero did break from the team – another one.
    Breaking from anything, means a separation and I can see cracks happening. Even without mentioning the security, but just from the perspective of a person who sees these wonderful brave men as heroes, if more of these men continue on the self-promotion ‘tell all’ path then the Navy SEALS will lose a lot. That’s if others are like me and count ‘respect’ as a lot.
    Robert O’Neill is a hero who has gone solo for glory – that’s ok anywhere, with almost any groups – but please, not with the NAVY SEALS.

    1. Maybe he believes that it is his “right” to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater, well, it is, but the exercise of your 1st amendment rights can also have dire consequences. This situation is one of those times.

  5. Jim • in a few seconds

    Speaking for myself as an ex-Army Special Forces soldier, I’m extremely pissed off that Robert O’Neill chose to run his mouth concerning his, or anyone else’s role in the mission! His self-serving disclosures regarding the details of a clandestine mission serves as a very bad example for “special operations” soldiers in our armed forces. I’m willing to bet serious money that his teammates would enjoy giving him a good thumping.

  6. After watching the two hour interview I could not name one item which would be a breach in ops. He did not say who was on the raid, what weapons they used, what the intel used, any tactic used that I haven’t seen on many, many TV shows. He did not mention where he was based. He did say he was at his child’s birthday party, but no city or state. He said the had practice runs on as close as possible replicate model. No indication where in the world that camp was located. He said computer hard drives and flash drives were recovered, however Obama gave more detail within hours of the raid. Normally I would agree on nothing is let out about special ops. That said, I do believe the families of the 9-11 victims are owed an exception in this case.

  7. I have a concern with any individual privy to classified information that sells a book or an article about a classified mission. Even though it can be sterile they have shown they will sell information. Now they have made themselves a target to foreign intelligence. If they ever hit hard financial times they are far more susceptible to being compromised for money. The best thing is to keep your mouth shut and never make yourself a target.

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