Matthew Cole, writing for the Intercept, is out with a must read piece. The Crimes of SEAL Team Six. The content and revelations may upset some of you, but it is a solid piece of reporting and is a story that needs to be told.
Here are a couple of relevant snippets:
Officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, SEAL Team 6 is today the most celebrated of the U.S. military’s special mission units. But hidden behind the heroic narratives is a darker, more troubling story of “revenge ops,” unjustified killings, mutilations, and other atrocities — a pattern of criminal violence that emerged soon after the Afghan war began and was tolerated and covered up by the command’s leadership. . . .
The prevailing narrative about SEAL Team 6 in news coverage, bestselling books, and Hollywood movies is unambiguously heroic; it centers on the killing of Osama bin Laden and high-profile rescue missions. With few exceptions, a darker, more troubling story has been suppressed and ignored — a story replete with tactical brilliance on battlefields around the world coupled with a pattern of silence and deceit when “downrange” actions lead to episodes of criminal brutality. The unit’s elite stature has insulated its members from the scrutiny and military justice that lesser units would have faced for the same actions.
This account of the crimes of SEAL Team 6 results from a two-year investigation drawing on interviews with 18 current and former members of the unit, including four former senior leaders of the command. Other military and intelligence officials who have served with or investigated the unit were also interviewed. Most would speak about the unit only on background or without attribution, because nearly every facet of SEAL Team 6 is classified. Some sources asked for anonymity citing the probability of professional retaliation for speaking out against their peers and teammates. According to these sources, whether judged by its own private code or the international laws of war, the command has proven to be incapable and unwilling to hold itself accountable for war crimes.
Most SEALs did not commit atrocities, the sources said, but the problem was persistent and recurrent, like a stubborn virus. Senior leaders at the command knew about the misconduct and did little to eradicate it. The official SEAL creed reads, in part: “Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.” But after 9/11, another code emerged that made lying — especially to protect a teammate or the command from accountability — the more honorable course of action.
I don’t know who Matthew’s sources are, but it is clear that a significant number of enlisted SEALS (former and current members of SEAL Team 6) and some officers gave him the inside skinny. The bottomline from Matthew’s piece is that one of our elite special operations units has been led by some corrupt, immoral officers. What has happened in SEAL Team 6 is but a symptom of the broader corruption and lack of accountability that has been the hallmark of the Obama Administration.
Think about this for a moment–we have seen two of our national intelligence agencies, the CIA and the DNI, help smear Donald Trump and try to derail his inauguration. We have seen the likes of Jim Clapper lie under oath to the Senate and suffer no repercussions. We witnessed CIA Director John Brennan lie about spying on Senate staffers tasked with investigating allegations of torture and keep his job. Americans were abandoned in Benghazi, four lost their lives, and the Obama Administration lied about what happened. And who was held accountable? No one.
This is the challenge confronting Donald Trump. To Make America Great Again you got to hold government leaders and workers accountable. If he can do that we are on the road to recovery. If he fails, it is the road to ruin.