The seven SEALs divulged classified information to the maker of a video game.
WASHINGTON — Seven members of the secretive Navy SEAL Team 6, including one involved in the Osama bin Laden mission, have been punished for disclosing classified information, senior Navy officials said Thursday.
Four other SEALs are under investigation for similar suspected violations, one official said.
They divulged classified information to the maker of a video game called “Medal of Honor: Warfighter.” Each of the seven received a punitive letter of reprimand and a partial forfeiture of pay for two months. Those actions generally hinder a military member’s career.
The deputy commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Adm. Garry Bonelli, issued a statement acknowledging that nonjudicial punishments had been handed out for misconduct, but he did not offer details.
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The two main complaints against the SEALs were that they did not seek the permission of their command to take part in the video project and that they showed the video designers some of their specially designed combat equipment unique to their unit, said a senior military official. The official was not authorized to speak publicly.
SEALs, including some of those involved in the bin Laden raid of May 2011, have been uncharacteristically prominent in the news this year.
Matt Bissonnette, who participated in the raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, but later retired from the SEALs, wrote a firsthand account under the pseudonym Mark Owen, but he landed in hot water with the Pentagon even before it was published.
He is accused of disclosing classified information in violation of the nondisclosure agreements he had signed as a SEAL. He disputes the charge.
SEALs, both active duty and retired, possess sensitive information about tactics that are central to the success of their missions. That is why they are obliged to sign nondisclosure agreements. The punishments were first reported by CBS News.