WASHINGTON — The military is cracking down on special operations troops who share knowledge of their secret missions for profit, punishing seven Navy SEALs, including one involved in the mission to get Osama bin Laden, who moonlighted as advisers on a combat video game.
Current and former SEALs, including the author of a tell-all book on the bin Laden raid, complain they're getting mixed messages from the military, which likes to see itself on big and small screens on its own terms.
The seven SEALs are being reprimanded and having their pay docked for sharing information with the designers of Medal of Honor: Warfighter, by video game company EA, according to military officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigations publicly.
The men will remain in the SEAL teams, but were punished for working on the video without their command's permission, revealing classified information by sharing the tactics they use and showing designers some of their specially designed combat equipment unique to their unit, the officials said.
Four more SEALs could face the similar punishment.
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.
The SEALs' unauthorized work came to light as part of the investigation of the book No Easy Day, by former SEAL Matt Bissonnette, with his firsthand account of the raid that killed bin Laden in Pakistan last year. Publisher Penguin's Dutton Imprint ignored the Pentagon's warnings that the book contained classified information and published the book just ahead of the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks.