Robert Gates: SEAL Team Members Are Worried About The Safety Of Their Families

The outgoing Secretary of Defense made a somewhat startling admission the other day regarding the leaks that have come out regarding the raid that killed Osama bin Laden:

The Department of Defense is looking into ways to “pump up the security” for the team of Navy SEALs who helped kill Osama bin Laden after the commandos expressed concern for their safety and the safety of their families, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.

Gates made the comment in response to a question at a town hall meeting at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. A Marine asked what measures were being taken to protect “the identities and the lives” of the SEALs involved in the takedown of bin Laden in Pakistan a week ago, as well as other troops deployed in the region, from the threat of retaliation.

“We are very concerned about the security of our families of your families and our troops, and also these elite units that are engaged in things like that. And without getting into any details … I would tell you that when I met with the team last Thursday, they expressed a concern about that, and particularly with respect to their families,” Gates told the audience.

“Frankly, a week ago Sunday, in the Situation Room, we all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden. That all fell apart on Monday, the next day.”

In all honestly, there’s no way that pledge could’ve been kept I think. This wasn’t just another operation in Kandahar, it was an operation to take out the leader of the group that murdered 3,000 Americans on September 11th. Once the White House announced that it had happened, I’m not sure that a “no operational details” stance would have gone over well with the press, or politically. At the same time, it seems apparent that sufficient details about the operation have come out now and that we don’t need to know details at the level that would endanger the lives of the SEALs themselves or their families.

 

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, National Security, Quick Takes, Terrorism, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jay Tea says:

    In all honestly, there’s no way that pledge could’ve been kept I think.

    Yeah, but the could have at least tried.

    Obama & crew couldn’t wait to start “spiking the ball” and taking their “victory laps.” We ALL had to know who made the “gutsy decision” and who gets the credit for it.

    ‘Cuz November 2012 is not that far away.

    J.

  2. Jay,

    In a different era it might have been possible but after Watergate the press is long past the time when they’d accept “national security” as a stonewall from the White House. This was the biggest story of the “War on Terror,” details were bound to come out.

    There’s one possibility, though. But for the helicopter crash they might have been able to keep more of a lid on this. Once that happened, the story would inevitably come out in more detail than they might have originally intended.

    Finally, as I said last week, I have no problem with the President receiving credit for this and if you don’t think that a Republican President wouldn’t be acting the act same way you’re incredibly naive.

  3. Southern Hoosier says:

    Once Comrade Obama run out of things to leak about bin Laden, then he’ll start on the SEALs

  4. Southern Hoosier says:

    Doug Mataconis says: Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 12:38

    Finally, as I said last week, I have no problem with the President receiving credit for this and if you don’t think that a Republican President wouldn’t be acting the act same way you’re incredibly naive.

    I’m still waiting to hear about all the WMD that Pres Bush found in Iraq, He has never admitted to finding any, let alone taken credit for finding them.

    LOL

  5. @Southern Hoosier,

    Your ability to come up with the most classless statement about the President amazes me.

    And the reason Bush never said anything about WMDs in Iraq is because there weren’t any.

  6. Southern Hoosier says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 16:07

    @Southern Hoosier,

    Your ability to come up with the most classless statement about the President amazes me.

    And the reason Bush never said anything about WMDs in Iraq is because there weren’t any.

    What do you think the LOL was for at the bottom?

  7. Obviously I missed that, sorry

  8. Southern Hoosier says:

    @ Doug Mataconis

    NP, just for the record, I’m not much of a Bush supporter.

  9. Jay Tea says:

    Funny, I remember reading about WMDs being found in Iraq. Apparently, Saddam didn’t have a new WMD program going, but had kept some of the stocks he was obliged to surrender and/or destroy after the 1991 war.

    And just because some thought the leaks were inevitable does NOT mean that the Obama administration should “get out ahead” of the leakers and release it themselves.

    J.

  10. Southern Hoosier says:

    Jay Tea says: Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 18:59

    And just because some thought the leaks were inevitable does NOT mean that the Obama administration should “get out ahead” of the leakers and release it themselves.

    Quite true, Comrade President always leads from the back.

  11. Franklin says:

    Quite true, Comrade President always leads from the back.

    At first I read this as ‘always leaks from the back’, which would have been way funnier.

  12. Southern Hoosier says:

    Franklin says:
    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 03:45

    Quite true, Comrade President always leads from the back.

    At first I read this as ‘always leaks from the back’, which would have been way funnier.

    LOL! Good point