- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 17, 2013

Navy SEALs are the toast of America, but revelations show that the top brass has not always watched their backs during the Obama administration.

SEALs have brought exhilarating moments for the White House. The storied SEAL Team 6 killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011 and rescued U.S. cargo ship captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates in 2009. Hollywood transformed both operations into blockbuster movies — with the administration’s help.

But some in the special operations community cite shabby treatment.


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A book by Billy Vaughn, father of a SEAL killed in the Aug. 6, 2011, shootdown of a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan, blames the administration for leaking too much information about his son’s unit.

Another book by two former SEALs tells the “shameful ordeal” they endured based on allegations of prisoner abuse by one unreliable sailor and one determined terrorist. Instead of issuing gratitude for nabbing the “butcher of Fallujah” in Iraq in 2009, U.S. Central Command court-martialed the SEALs on felony charges.

The two authors and a third SEAL were acquitted by military juries when the prosecution’s case fall apart.


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One of those former SEALs, Matthew McCabe, said in an interview that the ordeal encouraged him to leave the Navy last year rather than try out for Team 6 as he had planned.

“At that point, I really was thinking, ‘We gave a lot to be in this position. And for the minor allegation we’re being accused of, for you to turn your back on us that quick, I’m not going to give any more,’” said Mr. McCabe, now a commodities analyst in Houston. “I’m done with what’s going on. Should I go to work every day and give 1,000 percent if at the drop of a dime someone is going to stab me in the back? I’m not going to do that.”

The Pentagon said last week that it plans to take punitive action against a former SEAL Team 6 member for writing an unauthorized book about his role in killing bin Laden.

The threat was made even though the White House leaked a huge amount of details about the raid and cooperated in the making of “Dark Zero Thirty,” for which the film’s director received CIA briefings.

Courts-martial for capture

In 2010, pro-military lawmakers and citizens expressed outrage that U.S. Central Command had filed charges against Mr. McCabe and two other SEALs in the capture of Ahmed Hashim Abed. One of the most-wanted by the U.S., Abed was the accused mastermind of the slayings and desecrations of four American security contractors in the volatile town of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, in 2004.

The SEAL unit had executed a precise raid to infiltrate Abed’s hiding place, capture him and whisk him away in a chopper. No one was hurt.

The SEALs were stunned to learn days later that Abed had accused the three of hitting him. Their superiors, all the way up to Central Command, sided with the terrorist. No one believed their repeated denials. This was a setup, they said.

A master chief petty officer confronted them and demanded their weapons, a devastating scene rendered in the book “Honor and Betrayal,” written by Patrick Robinson, as told by Mr. McCabe and fellow former SEAL Jonathan Keefe.

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