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OPSEC Is Your Friend

Fox News has announced that it will air a special report, in which a person who claims to have been the Navy SEAL who shot Usama bin Laden will be interviewed.  I have lost count of the number of special operations members who have made movies, written books, or been interviewed about their experiences in the military.  I guess the advice I got when I signed my disclosure agreement didn’t filter up to their level:  Keep your mouth shut.

Look, I never did anything approaching either high speed or low drag.  I did some things that I really enjoyed and I’m still geeking out about after almost two decades, but nobody’s going to make a movie about a plucky, humorless linguist.  But the things I did do were secret for good reason.  So, yeah, there are places I’ve been that I don’t talk about, and there are things I did in places I can talk about that will earn you a blank stare if you ask me about them.

Basically, I’ve always thought that the PR machine around the UBL raid was an embarrassment.  Here’s what should have happened:  The night of the raid, all Pakistani intelligence and Al Qaeda should have found was a bunch of spent brass, dead bodies, and footprints.  The helicopter that crashed should have been a pile of ash and rubble after air support for the mission blew it to kingdom come.  Bin Laden himself should be missing.  Nobody left alive on the target should have known enough to help tell the tale.  A shiver runs down the backs of our enemies because nobody knows what happened or how to prevent it from happening again.  A few weeks earlier, the White House press secretary denies knowing anything when asked about rumors that UBL is dead.  End of story.

Giving interviews on national TV or in a book gets other people killed.  If your face is known, then someone who has seen that face will put together two and two and figure out that anyone who had anything to do with you was working with the United States and deserves a little alone time with Abdul “The Nailpuller” Aziz.  Discussing technology and methods points toward ways to defend against the methods and defeat the technology, which in turn puts the people who are still doing the job at risk.

Guys and gals, save the war stories for the VFW or the reunions.  I don’t want to know how the bad guys get killed, and it’s scarier for them if nobody can even confirm it was us who did it.

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  1. Hey DB,

    Very good point, I also was “out front” and even now 25 years later, I still don’t talk about what I did….the 75 year non disclosure thingie is kinda binding. When people ask what I did…I tell them either “a lot of things” or “I drove a truck.” From what I have heard that in the Spec ops community, the seals are jerks…they believe their own PR. Also it didn’t help that you had the white house trying to score political points before an election.


  2. Jeremy

     /  November 5, 2014

    “agree with all above”


  3. Jeremy

     /  November 5, 2014


    It s a massive disinformation campaign!!! *Cue Conspiracy Theory*


  4. I still run into guys who I KNOW were ASA, and deny ever hearing of any such thing.
    Guys, I went through AIT trained by the guys you went to Devens with. It’s OK, I’m not asking for the circuit diagrams of the TRQ30…


  5. auntiejl

     /  November 8, 2014

    I have no military experience, but I agree with you 100%.


    • I think what gets under my skin is that people who do have experience don’t seem to know this, or if they do, don’t think it applies to them.


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