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Seals Reveal Secrets To Warfighter Games Team
Seven members of America's secretive US Navy Seals have been punished for disclosing sensitive information to a video games maker.
Members of Seal Team Six, including one man who was involved in the Osama bin Laden raid, are alleged to have divulged classified information to the makers of Medal Of Honor: Warfighter.
Four other Seals are under investigation for similar alleged violations, according to US Navy officials.
Each of the seven received a letter of reprimand and a partial forfeiture of pay for two months. Those actions generally hinder someone's career in the US military.
Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli, the deputy commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, issued a statement confirming that non-judicial punishments had been handed out for misconduct.
"We do not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do as sailors in the United States Navy," he said.
Admiral Bonelli said the punishments "send a clear message throughout our force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability".
The main complaint against the Seals was that they did not seek the permission of their commanders to take part in the video game project.
They also showed the game designers some of the specially designed combat equipment unique to their unit, according to an unnamed senior military official.
The single player campaign of Medal Of Honor Warfighter, which was developed by Danger Close Games, features various locations including Bosnia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Somalia.
Preacher, a character from the first game returns, while the new playable character is Stump, a Recon Marine-turned US Navy Seal.
Seals, including some of those involved in the raid of May 2011 targeting the al Qaeda leader, have been uncharacteristically prominent in the news this year.
Matt Bissonnette, who participated in the raid in Abbottabad in Pakistan and later retired from the Seals, wrote a firsthand account called No Easy Day under the pseudonym Mark Owen.
He landed in hot water with the Pentagon even before it was published in September.
It accused him of disclosing classified information in violation of the nondisclosure agreements he had signed as a Seal. He disputes the charge.
The head of Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Admiral Sean Pybus, responded to the book by telling his force that "hawking details about a mission" and selling other information about Seal training and operations puts the force and their families at risk.
Seal Team Six: The Raid On Osama Bin Laden, a†docu-drama film about the raid was shown on the National Geographic Channel in the US earlier this week, amid criticism of the timing of the broadcast two days before the presidential election.
US Navy Seals, both active duty and retired, possess highly sensitive information about tactics and techniques that are central to the success of their secret and often dangerous missions overseas.
That is why they are obliged to sign non-disclosure agreements when they enter service and when they leave, and it is why the Pentagon seeks to enforce such written agreements.