Monday, May 28, 2012

This Is Just Wrong

According to conservative legal group Judicial Watch, the Obama administration granted access to two Hollywood filmmakers to special operations mission data regarding the Bin Laden operation. The data included the name of one of the members of the black ops team, SEAL TEAM SIX. Judicial Watch backs up the claim with documents released to them by the US government under the Freedom of Information Act. The information they obtained also shows that the filmmakers planned on releasing their film shortly before the 2012 Presidential Elections. That date has now been pushed back due to outcry over the propriety of the release of a presumably pro-Obama film immediately before his bid for re-election.

So, where do I start. I am presently writing a fictional novel based on the life of a special operations team commander. In doing my research one hard and fast rule has impressed itself upon me. You don’t talk about the teams. Ever! Not only are their operations classified but for their own security it is essential that identities and tactics stay top secret. To divulge any information regarding the teams or any of their operations to the public is a breach of National Security. Everything I have read and everyone who has been interviewed says the same thing. “You don’t talk about the teams!”

The only information that has heretofore been made available to the public is from retired personnel regarding declassified missions or missions that were subject to the Freedom of Information Act. That is, until the Bin Laden operation. Immediately after the operation there were leaks. Photos of the White House situation room were made public as were classified details of the mission. Now Hollywood has been “read in” to a mission that should have remained top secret for the foreseeable future. And, all in time to be released just prior to a very difficult and uncertain election.

There is no mystery as to why Hollywood would want access to this mission nor is it any secret that the government commonly assists writers and filmmakers with their projects. In fact, the White House, CIA and the Pentagon all admit to the release and openly state that there was nothing unusual about their dealings with the filmmakers.

"The CIA has been open about our engagement with writers, documentary filmmakers, movie and TV producers, and others in the entertainment industry," said Jennifer Youngblood, an agency spokeswoman.

She added: "Our goal is an accurate portrayal of the men and women of the CIA, their vital mission and the commitment to public service that defines them. The protection of national security equities is always paramount in any engagement with the entertainment industry."

The White House simply insists that the filmmakers had not been given classified information. That remains to be seen and is being investigated as I write this. But the issue that disturbs me is the release of the identity of a senior member and mission planner of SEAL TEAM SIX. It further disturbs me that transcripts quote Michael Vickers, the Pentagons Intelligence chief as saying,

"you not reveal his name in any way as a consultant, because ... he shouldn't be talking out of school."

That’s exactly right, he should not be talking out of school. In fact, he shouldn’t be talking at all. Until now, outside access to active special operations personnel has been strictly limited. It is in the great tradition of the TEAMS to keep mum about what they do much less who they are. And, it is a brilliant illustration of this administration’s manipulation of the media and the lengths they will go to in order to influence public opinion. Allowing access such as this puts our Special Operations Personnel at risk as well as our National Security.

Had Judicial Watch and other groups not called into question the release of this information Hollywood would have handed President Obama a handy little public opinion coup.

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