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Navy SEAL Team 6 members punished for secrets breach

By Robert Burns

AP National Security Writer

LAST UPDATED: 02:30 a.m. HST, Nov 09, 2012

WASHINGTON >> Seven members of the secretive Navy SEAL Team 6, including one involved in the mission to get Osama bin Laden, have been punished for disclosing classified information, senior Navy officials said Thursday.

Four other SEALs are under investigation for similar alleged violations, one official said.

They are alleged to have divulged classified information to the maker of a video game.

Each of the seven received a punitive letter of reprimand and a partial forfeiture of pay for two months. Those actions generally hinder a military member's career.

The deputy commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Adm. Garry Bonelli, issued a statement acknowledging that nonjudicial punishments had been handed out for misconduct, but he did not offer any details.

"We do not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do as sailors in the United States Navy," Bonelli said. He alluded to the importance of honoring nondisclosure agreements that SEALs sign.

He said the punishments this week "send a clear message throughout our force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability."

SEALs, including some of those involved in the bin Laden raid of May 2011, have been uncharacteristically prominent in the news this year.

Matt Bissonnette, who participated in the raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, but later retired from the SEALs, wrote a firsthand account under the pseudonym Mark Owen, but he landed in hot water with the Pentagon even before it was published in September. The Pentagon accused him of disclosing classified information in violation of the nondisclosure agreements he had signed as a SEAL. He disputes the charge.

The SEAL mission to capture or kill Laden, while stunningly successful, encountered a number of unexpected obstacles, including the loss of a stealthy helicopter that was partially blown up by the SEALs after making a hard landing inside bin Laden's compound.

The head of Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Adm. Sean Pybus, responded to the Bissonnette book by telling his force that "hawking details about a mission" and selling other information about SEAL training and operations puts the force and their families at risk.

SEALs, both active duty and retired, possess highly sensitive information about tactics and techniques that are central to the success of their secret and often dangerous missions overseas. That is why they are obliged to sign nondisclosure agreements when they enter service and when they leave, and it is why the Pentagon seeks to enforce such written agreements.

The punishments were first reported by CBS News.

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HD36 wrote:
Was Bin Laden already dead when they shot him? Frozen, then thawed, he died of kidney failure. That's why they cremated his body so fast.
on November 8,2012 | 08:09PM
NITRO08 wrote:
on November 8,2012 | 08:41PM
sluggah wrote:
Timing is questionable. Wouldn't have been prudent last week.
on November 8,2012 | 08:11PM
Brixac3 wrote:
The POTUS violated secret task force code of silence by naming the branch of service, the team and methods, which endangered the lives of Team 6 and their families and has compromised future efforts. See the following from former SEALs and special forces commanders. http://www.youtube.com/v/X-Xfti7qtT0?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0
on November 8,2012 | 08:54PM
serious wrote:
I believe VP Biden did the same thing.
on November 9,2012 | 05:28AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Mahalo Brixac3 Worth watching! Aloha.
on November 9,2012 | 06:41AM
LMO wrote:
I believe UBL is not dead. He will never see the light of day again, but every few months they'll come out with "information obtained from his computers." They are torturing him in an unkown location, and will for years to come. Paranoid, eh, but I believe it's true.
on November 9,2012 | 03:14AM
inHilo wrote:
If you believe it, it must be true. Kinda like religion, right?
on November 9,2012 | 05:31AM
BigOpu wrote:
Creative...I'll give you that. Let's see what other conspiracies are out there. It's sort of entertaining to see what people can imagine.
on November 9,2012 | 07:28AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Bring back the Green Berets.
on November 9,2012 | 05:48AM
mrluke wrote:
Why would you have army commandos taking part in a ground conflict, miles inland, when sailors can do a better job? lol
on November 9,2012 | 06:54AM
SweetWilliam wrote:
Great, Obama gives out details for his movie but Seals get charged and now the bad guys know the identity of the Seals.
on November 9,2012 | 05:53AM
mrluke wrote:
They did it to themselves.
on November 9,2012 | 06:45AM
mrluke wrote:
SEAL is spelled in capitals S-E-A-L! It's an acronym for SeaAirLand.
on November 9,2012 | 06:58AM
Halemaumau wrote:
It's okay for the White House to leak classified information but it's not okay for others... double standard.
on November 9,2012 | 06:37AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Barry is a true amateur, Hilary is JV at best and Biden should not get off the bench. http://www.opsecteam.org/background.html Aloha
on November 9,2012 | 06:42AM
mrluke wrote:
It seems that a few of them have become enamored with their rock-star status, and want to cash in on it.
on November 9,2012 | 06:51AM
Bdpapa wrote:
I hope not. Honor is very important to that unit.
on November 9,2012 | 07:29AM
mrluke wrote:
They are one of the more elite units in the armed forces, but not the only one. In the last few years the P.R. machine has over-hyped them into some kind of mythical status. Some of them have even bought into it and have caused ripples of resentment among others in the military service.
on November 9,2012 | 12:56PM
Ronin006 wrote:
The SEALS who divulged classified information deserve the punishment, but why is Obama and others in his administration being given a pass for divulging classified information about the Bin Laden raid?
on November 9,2012 | 07:39AM
serious wrote:
Executive privilege--means they can do whatever they want to do. Just like the Secret Service!! Whatever happened to the murder trial???
on November 9,2012 | 09:43AM
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