While top military leaders publicly bash a former Navy SEAL for his book about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, his foxhole comrades convey their displeasure in a more subtle way.
From now on, rogue author Matt Bissonnette will be ostracized by the fraternity. No invitations will be sent to annual events for retired and active SEALs who keep the secretive community of special warriors a closely knit band of brothers, former Navy officers told The Washington Times.
Don’t look for Mr. Bissonnette at any sanctioned SEAL reunions or memorial events, including those at his old unit, the low-profile Naval Special Warfare Development Group, known better as SEAL Team 6.
“The guys who run their mouths are typically not invited back to these things,” a retired senior Navy officer familiar with the SEAL culture told The Times.
“These guys are not really welcomed in many places in the ‘spec’ war community. The entire SEAL community has made these guys unwelcomed at their gatherings.”
The officer asked not to be named because he maintains contacts with the special operations, or “spec,” community.
“The ‘Dev Gru’ guys are giving him the cold shoulder,” said a second senior retired officer also with ties to the community, referring to a nickname for SEAL Team 6.
“They’re not going to buy the book. Most of the guys are pissed off [by] the fact that he would disclose the operation.”
A code of silence
It states: “I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.”
At the top of the military hierarchy, leaders are going beyond shunning Mr. Bissonnette. They are coming close to threatening him with legal action on suspicion of violating an agreement not to disclose classified information. He also failed to submit the book for Pentagon review before publication.
“In recent months, a number of people associated with Naval Special Warfare have violated this part of our Ethos,” Rear Adm. Sean Pybus, who heads the Naval Special Warfare Command, wrote in a letter obtained by the Associated Press.
“As the Commander of NSW, I am disappointed, embarrassed and concerned. Most of us have always thought that the privilege of working with some of our Nation’s toughest Warriors on challenging missions would be enough to be proud of, with no further compensation or celebrity required.”
George Little, spokesman for Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, told reporters this week: “When it comes to sensitive special operations missions, such as the operation that took down Osama bin Laden, it is important that those who are involved in such operations take care to protect sensitive and classified information.