The Department of Defense is looking into ways to "pump up the security" for the team of Navy SEALs who helped kill Osama bin Laden after the commandos expressed concern for their safety and the safety of their families, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.
Gates made the comment in response to a question at a town hall meeting at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. A Marine asked what measures were being taken to protect "the identities and the lives" of the SEALs involved in the takedown of bin Laden in Pakistan a week ago, as well as other troops deployed in the region, from the threat of retaliation.
"We are very concerned about the security of our families - of your families and our troops, and also these elite units that are engaged in things like that. And without getting into any details ... I would tell you that when I met with the team last Thursday, they expressed a concern about that, and particularly with respect to their families," Gates told the audience.
"Frankly, a week ago Sunday, in the Situation Room, we all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden. That all fell apart on Monday, the next day."
Gates' comments offered the first insight into the mindset of the team members since they carried out the risky operation.
SEALs, short for Sea, Air and Land teams, are known as "quiet professionals." They keep a low profile because of the classified nature of their tactical operations.
The team, known as SEAL Team 6, is widely believed to have returned to American soil. But the unit is covered with such a degree of secrecy that the military won't confirm its presence.
The Marine's question underscored sentiment among military and intelligence communities that identification of the team signified an unprecedented breach of confidentiality.
Gates acknowledged the threat of retaliation against Team 6 and troops deployed in the region.
"There is an awareness that the threat of retaliation is increased because of the attacks - because of the action against bin Laden," he said. "The one thing I would tell you, though, is that I think there has been a consistent and effective effort to protect the identities of those who participated in the raid, and I think that has to continue."
A Pentagon spokesman later cautioned against interpreting Gates' response "as a criticism of any particular person or office."
"He was indeed voicing his concern about the breakdown in operational security after the killing of Bin Laden," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Geoff Morrell said. "Anonymous sources revealing secret information about the tactics, training, and equipment of covert forces put at risk our ability to successfully mount similar missions in the future."
I do not know why all this fuss. I haven't seen any photo of our SEAl heroes posted on the net or the paper. So no one knows who they are. Posting guards will attract attention. I do not know why one advertised the fact that the job was done by the SEALS.
Why cannot we follow Israels example. Even when they do something they deny doing it. Well I guess our politicians need the votes.
worst president EVER
@Max Thanks for being the poster child for the dumbing down of America. I know, you probably don't even know what that means. Which is my point, you ignorant jerk.
"we all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden. That all fell apart on Monday, the next day."
Iâ€™m sure if it went wrong that would have been honored. Though the DOD might have done the same. Politics!
PLEASE, LETS drop this topic. Anything about them should have been TOP SECRET, but no the media has to risk their security just to get a story. Freedom of the press sometimes is our worst enemy and puts lives at stake, and they know it. Thats what I hate about our press. They don't know when to say, I better not make this public, in the publics best interest, But also the military needs to shut up about covert operations period, incuding GATES! I hope this goes away and nothing is further exposed. I am proud we have people like them, lets not make future seals think twice about doing highly classified operations, that may be leaked!
So...I have to wonder if this is just the kind of info that would find its way to WikiLeaks if PFC Manning was still out there committing treason...
@AnonymousVet Thanks for being the poster child for the dumbing down of America. I know, you probably don't even know what that means. Which is my point, you ignorant jerk.
Teason smeason- I don't care about hitmen or their families.
Hey DaveO – now that you've learned how to copy and paste, why don't you explain your post instead of just spewing hateful words. Any idiot can do that...
If they're so worried about their safety then maybe they shouldn't have murdered an unarmed man with kidney problems.
@Jason Thanks for being the poster child for the dumbing down of America. I know, you probably don't even know what that means. Which is my point, you ignorant jerk.
hey, the problem wasnt his body , it was his mental need to kill americans and an army of able bodied people ready to do his bidding. so feeble old man, yes, but a wicked,cunning and murderous old man.
Don't trust a thing this doughboy Gates or his sponsor Oboma says!!!
First, spell his name correctly. Second, Gates isn't a doughboy. Third, you make no sense. Have a Good Day!
Harry Tasker 10024 and Albert Gibson 34991 would never be afraid of reprisal.
I agree that probably too much is divulged by the "leaks" and "insiders". They did not have to name the specific Unit.
They could have just said Navy SEALs or JSOC. You have to understand that these Professionals did not know who they were to raid until they stepped on the first transport that night. Even though they trained in an exact model of the house for several weeks prior to that, they were likely unaware of it being part of the future mission. Command likely cherry picked those most proficient in the assault of the model structure and placed them on the gold teams for this mission. The others were to position as a backup / recovery force. Its a sad day when the very top politicans cannot keep from releasing damaging information on a daily basis. The President included, especially for not offering correct details in his first speech. It makes the country look bad and it puts our troops at risk.
What ever happened to operational security (OPSEC)? I guess this administration is just out for the temporary glory and not looking at the long term results of their actions!!!
Whe whill ve speaking only Spanish in 20 yeahrs from now. Yu know jau many babbys we make every year?? So fhorget the gramar and lhearn Spanish. Iff you are Ann inglish teacher thatss too badd
The best way to ensure security is for all of these sources who are "not authorized to comment" to STOP COMMENTING!!! Why does every single person in government who is trusted with secrecy immediately run to blab to a reporter when anything happens?
Every single comment on here is hilarious. Does anyone have a unique and intellectual thought on this article or on this crappy situation for the SEAL's, and/or to mention the possible future attacks on every American let alone the SEAL's?? O sorry for my terrible grammar/writing skills, I live in America. Less criticism please. There's no right or wrong answer.
As for this article. Politicians and politics suck, I have all the respect for every militarie, and I enjoy to read CNN articles every morning not only for the somewhat informative topics, but also the amusing comments.
This is why you do not hold over Secy Gates from the Bush II admin. First, he showed his Obama bias and success jealousy by even commenting on that, to bring attention to what was already known and expected, ie personal feelings of retribution. That is why you keep personal credit confidential and you recognize all that participated, from the Army Delta Forces, Army Aviation units, USAF, etc. and Seal Team 6. Hero creation has a cost. Also, Bush II designated BL as an enemy combatant, which means no arrest needed, just military action. That is why Obama had to flip flop and keep Guantanamo, ie legal definition process already set in motion. Obama made the right move to not arrest him and create a political icon in captivity. This is why Secy Gates is leaving, he is a Bush II cronie traitor. He needs to go back to the land of Bush II conservatism, ie. Nazi held Texas AM as its' president.
There is no such thing as secrecy in this world anymore. With Facebook and such websites, people post their every move. Let me say is you are stupid enough to post something like that and I know it has been done then the government cannot protest you. Think before you tell everyone is the world what color socks you have on today. Some things are meant to stay in your private world, I guess your parents forgot to teach you that life lesson.