Loose Lips Sink Ships: “I Shot bin Laden”

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Last night I had the opportunity to share my personal thoughts with Megyn Kelly on Fox News about Rob O’Neill’s “coming out” party that he was the SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden.

The interview ended before I was able to respond to a few of the points made by the former SEAL who was on the show with me. He has profited greatly from his books and appearances describing in detail the classified operations he was on while attached to a unit that officially does not exist.

If you haven’t seen the segment, check it out and then read my thoughts below:

His main points that I did not get a chance to reply to were:

  1. The administration put out the information first.
  2. The information being revealed can already be found online.
  3. Our Admiral did not send the same threatening letter to the President and Vice President of the United States of America as he did to current and former members of the NSW community.
  4. We need to support our brothers.

“The administration put out the information first.”

I don’t support this administration or their illegal actions of disclosing details of classified operations…but apparently some do. By using their dangerous breaches of OPSEC as support for detailing their time at an organization that is not supposed to exist, these former SEALs are supporting our enemies’ intelligence collection. Other than putting money in their pockets, I can find no good in collaborating with the Obama administration. By confirming any information that is leaked, no matter where it came from, we are making it more likely for the the practice to be accepted in the future.

OPSEC” is the process of protecting little pieces of data that could be grouped together to give the bigger picture.

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“The information being revealed can already be found online.”

Terrorists also have manuals on the internet detailing how to make bombs to kill Americans — so because it’s on the internet, should I try to write a bestselling book about how we build bombs in the SEAL Teams? Should I say that I built bombs like this and they work great? No! One of the key tenets of OPSEC is not to confirm any information that has already been disclosed. We then need to work on plugging the leak to stop the exploitation of friendly critical information.

“Our Admiral did not send the same threatening letter to the President and Vice President of the United States of America as he did to current and former members of the NSW community.”

I’m not a politician or an Admiral, but I do know that in the past high ranking military officials who have told their boss what to do quickly ended up without a job. By sending a letter to the members under his command, Rear Admiral Brian Losey did the best he could to stop the unauthorized disclosures and send a message up the chain without getting a pink slip.

“We need to support our brothers.”

Any assumption that I do not support my brothers because I do not support a very small minority of them who have chosen to collaborate with the illegal actions of the administration and either give or confirm details of classified operations for material gain is pure ignorance.

Maybe if I wrote books detailing operations I did in the teams and knew I was giving away details about how my brothers and I operate overseas for financial gains, I too would support others’ breaches in OPSEC. But I don’t.

I support many military and SEAL charities, giving both my time and money. I’m on the board of directors for the Navy SEALs Fund, which supports active and retired SEALs and their families, and have taught more civilian courses to benefit charity events than I have for my own business.

Loose lips sink ships

I’m not saying that these men are not heroes for what they’ve done and they deserve our respect and admiration for what they did while they were active. But if people want to know what happens on SEAL operations, they can go through BUD/S to find out. We don’t need to tell them how we plan and execute our operations.

In the past, this country understood, “Loose lips sink ships.” Now, some seem to be looking for excu$e$ to break this common sense approach to Operational Security.

Even if you do have the right to talk about sensitive information, you have a responsibility not to. Loose lips do sink ships and I have a feeling the spotlight these former SEALs have chosen to shine on themselves is going to illuminate more about themselves than they may have liked.

Although it too has lost its permanent commitment in some, receiving your security clearance is a bit like marriage. It is a commitment that marks a permanent change in your life. You accept new responsibilities and will be expected to meet them, until death do us part. Your responsibility to protect the classified information that you learn about is a LIFELONG obligation. It continues even after you no longer have an active security clearance. Your signed Nondisclosure Agreement is the only form held on file long after you retire.

Chris Sajnog