By Barbara Starr
(CNN) - Deep inside the military's special operations forces there is a crisis of conscience unfolding. The publication of "No Easy Day," a former Navy SEAL's account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, is forcing many to rethink a fundamental point of military honor. How much should America's commandos talk about what they do?
It's a debate that goes beyond disclosure of classified information, which is a crime. The discussion now centers on honor, ethics and cultural values inside the ranks.
"This is a battle for the conscience of the SEALs," a recently retired senior SEAL told me.
He served for decades in operational positions in the force, and has never told me any of the details of his missions. For years he did what every SEAL has done: Go on raids, find targets and, if necessary, kill them. It's what the nation asks of them.
Buzz ramps up over SEAL's bin Laden book
The question now: Is the SEAL community taking that Tom Clancy superman image and turning it into celebrity? "Was No Easy Day" indeed that last straw?
"It's a generational thing that is happening to some extent," the retired SEAL said. Some younger SEALs who have grown up in the age of the Internet and instant online communications simply feel it's their right to talk about their work, as long as they can claim it's not classified, he said.
This senior SEAL said he and his peers grew up in a generation where "we don't talk about what we do," and he feels it should be kept that way.
In fact, the chief Navy SEAL wrote a scathing e-mail to his 2,500 troops, which began with the fundamental SEAL ethos.
"We do NOT advertise the nature of our work, NOR do we seek recognition for our actions," said Rear Adm. Sean Pybus.
Pybus told the men he is "disappointed, embarrassed and concerned" that troops are now openly speaking and writing about what they do.
"Most of us have always thought that the privilege of working with some of our nation's toughest warriors on challenging missions would be enough to be proud of, with no further compensation or celebrity required.
"Today, we find former SEALs headlining positions in a presidential campaign; hawking details about a mission against Enemy Number 1; and generally selling other aspects of NSW training and operations."
Pybus continued: "For an Elite Force that should be humble and disciplined for life, we are certainly not appearing to be so. We owe our chain of command much better than this."
Every SEAL, indeed everyone in U.S. military special operations units, knows exactly what Pybus is saying. He's warning that fundamental trust is at risk. And the risk is on many levels, from the campfire to the Oval Office.
Matt Bissonnette wrote in his book about casual chatter among SEALs, which he portrayed as less than supportive of President Obama. An Army special operations guy who read that passage was shocked.
"That's just 'team talk' around the fire," he said.
Does anybody expect that to show up in a book? The men on these small covert units literally place their lives in the hands of each other. They trust that they'll keep each others' confidence. And confidence must be unshakeable at the highest levels.
Bergen: Sense and nonsense about Obama and Osama
Pybus' reference to a chain of command is read by some to mean only one thing: the president of the United States. A president has to fundamentally believe when he sends SEALs on a secret mission to kill the world's top terrorist that those in the rank and file aren't going to start talking.
Of course, there has been plenty of chatter about Obama administration officials themselves talking too much about the raid. Now there has been outright admission classified information was exposed.
Pentagon spokesman George Little acknowledged classified information about the raid did get out in the hours and days after bin Laden was killed.
"We were all deeply concerned, not just in this building, but elsewhere in the administration, about the disclosure of highly classified information that made its way out the door," he said. "I don't know precisely who did it, but it shouldn't have happened. And many of us tried to keep some of those sensitive details, particularly those involving sources and methods, from making their way to press reports."
Little was the CIA spokesman at the time of the raid.
But many believe there is a difference between Pentagon officials disseminating information and rank and file members of the military sharing it. If service members want to write a book, the material has to be reviewed before publication. If a service member believes he or she needs to bring wrongdoing to light, there are procedures within the military for whistle-blowing. Bissonnette did not follow the rules, the Pentagon said.
In fact, in the book's introduction, Bissonnette justifies his book, writing "It is time to set the record straight" and, "This book will finally give credit to those who earned it." It's odd phrasing, because so many, including Pybus and Adm. William McRaven, the head of all 65,000 special operations forces across the military, think the SEALs have received plenty of credit around the world for killing bin Laden.
Pentagon: SEAL's book has classified info, didn't follow protocol
Both admirals are agonizing over the emergence of SEALs as celebrities as well as political operatives.
McRaven is aiming squarely at a group of former SEALs actively opposing President Barack Obama. The admiral is referring to the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, which has sponsored a Web video featuring former special forces officers accusing the president of taking too much credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden and allowing classified information about the raid to become public.
While McRaven said former SEALs have the right to express their opinions, he wants any link to the active duty force to be kept out of it. "By attaching a special operations moniker or a unit or service name to a political agenda, those individuals have now violated the most basic of our military principles," McRaven said in his e-mail message to the troops.
McRaven and Pybus know their worries are raising eyebrows. That's because the Pentagon itself has encouraged worldwide commercial interest in SEAL lore. In one case, top Pentagon and CIA officials offered their support for the upcoming "Zero Dark Thirty," a movie that Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow is making about the bin Laden raid.
Some in Congress have complained that the Pentagon and CIA should not have offered the filmmaker background briefings.
Active duty Navy SEALs also were given permission to perform in the Hollywood thriller "Act of Valor."
Also, Pentagon sources told CNN, SEALs are also working on two other Hollywood movies.
The recently retired senior SEAL summed up the problem for his brothers in arms since the Bin Laden raid: "We swallowed the golden egg. But now we can't get rid of it."
I really like it whenever people get together and share ideas. Great website, stick with it!
That is a really good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!
can i take viagra twice a day http://loxviagra.com/ women on viagra
bookmarked!!, I like your website!
I blog frequently and I truly thank you for your information. This great article has really peaked my interest. I will take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.
Next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I actually believed you'd have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.
riesgos por usar viagra https://llviagra.com/ viagra natural masculina
It’s nearly impossible to find well-informed people on this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is very useful. Thank you for sharing!
priligy 90 mg priligy uk
A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you should publish more about this topic, it might not be a taboo matter but typically people don't discuss such topics. To the next! Best wishes!!
cialis soft tabs overnight https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis black uk
viagra and cialis https://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis online pharmacy buy cialis in las vegas
I absolutely love your blog.. Great colors & theme. Did you develop this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my very own blog and would like to know where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Thank you!
This is a topic which is close to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?
This is a topic that is close to my heart... Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?
does the va approve cialis for patients http://ucialisdas.com/ order generic cialis online
viagra,cialis india https://cialisee.com/ how much is a cialis
canadian pharmacy certified canada pharmacy online drugs from canada canadian 24 hour pharmacy
I was able to find good info from your blog posts.
Your style is very unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this web site.
I blog frequently and I really appreciate your information. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.
chloroquinine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ is chloroquine available over the counter
avana india avanafil dosage
get prescription online https://pharmacylo.com/ drugstore
Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe that this amazing site needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the info!
buy priligy online dapoxetine 10 mg
Wonderful article! We are linking to this great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.
generic cialis florida https://cialisee.com/ oryginal cialis
avana 50 mg avana drug
Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It's always exciting to read articles from other writers and practice a little something from other websites.
cialis price at walmart https://ucialisdas.com/ cialis dosage strengths
Theo-24 Cr https://pharmacylo.com/ best drugstore blush
london drugs canada http://uspharmus.com/ – Avapro canada drugs pharmacy
levitra bayer 20 mg price https://uslevitraanna.com/ levitra australia
canadian diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian weight loss pills
cialis daily vs 36 hour https://cileve.com/ 20mg generic cialis
cialis online pharmacy australian http://cileve.com/ – cialis at canadian pharmacy cialis pills
coupons for erectile dysfunction https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile booster
cialis forum http://asciled.com/ 20mg cialis generic
drugs from canada with prescription http://onlinecanda21.com/ canadian pharmacy drugs online
Great article. I am dealing with many of these issues as well..
canadian pharmacy cialis without prescription https://canadacialisstore.com/ buying canadian cialis
best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian generic pills
chloroquina https://aralenchloroquinex.com/# aralen for lupus
Lamivudin (Cipla Ltd) http://uspharmus.com/ – prescription cost canada drugs
when will tadalafil be generic https://boxtadafil.com/ tadalafil dapoxetine tablets india
Cipro http://onlinecanda21.com/ no prescription pharmacies
best online pharmacy for viagra http://gensitecil.com/ – what happens if a girl takes viagra virectin vs viagra
is chloroquine phosphate the same as hydroxychloroquine https://aralenchloroquinex.com/# who chloroquine
Best view i have ever seen !
301550 814187learning toys can enable your kids to develop their motor skills quite easily;; 136593
where can i buy sildenafil 100mg https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil levitra
tadalafil vs sildenafil http://boxtadafil.com/ tadalafil drug class
cialis paypal http://asciled.com/ buy cialis in canada
do you need prescription for canadian prescription of cialis in usa https://canadacialisstore.com/ is it safe to order cialis from canadian pharmacy
Dostinex https://canadianeve21.com/ Remeron
sildenafil 20 mg preion online https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ price for sildenafil 100 mg
viagra trial https://gensitecil.com/ fildena vs viagra
An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I believe that you ought to publish more on this subject, it might not be a taboo matter but usually folks don't discuss such subjects. To the next! Cheers!!
compare viagra cialis and levitra http://uslevitraanna.com/ gsk levitra coupon 2019
why erectile dysfunction happens https://plaquenilx.com/ erectile cherries
buy cialis brand http://cileve.com/ – cialis black online the effects that viagra and cialis have on women
cialis http://cileve.com/ cialis free 30 day supply
cialis generic cipla https://asciled.com/ cialis no prescription
But wanna input that you have a very nice internet site, I enjoy the layout it actually stands out.
pastilla levitra para que sirve http://uslevitraanna.com/ cialis vs levitra
prescription cost comparison http://canadianeve21.com/ – Super ED Trial Pack canada drugs direct
alprostadil injection site https://alprostadildrugs.com/ injectable drug for erectile dysfunction
canadian pharmacy reviews http://uspharmus.com/ sildenafil citrate
Flexeril https://onlinecanda21.com/ buy prescription drugs canada
You have made some really good points there. I checked on the net to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.
allergy http://uspharmus.com/ canadian pharmaceuticals online reviews
buy cialis online usa https://asciled.com/ – cialis no prescriptuin buy generic cialis atralia
Viagra Oral Jelly https://onlinecanda21.com/ Lotensin
cialis canadian https://canadacialisstore.com/ canadian meds cialis
vardenafil vs viagra https://vegavardenafil.com/ how do you take vardenafil 20 mg?
what is zithromax 250 mg used for https://zithromaxes.com/ do you need a prescription for zithromax
cheap alprostadil https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil injection site
tadalafil gel https://elitadalafill.com/ what is tadalafil
ed pills vardenafil https://vegavardenafil.com/ does canada sell generic vardenafil
Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you're using? I'm going to start my own blog soon but I'm having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for something unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!
what is tadalafil https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil dosage
cialis viagra combination canadian pharmacy https://canadacialisstore.com/ buying canadian cialis
azitromax https://zithromaxes.com/ azithromycin and zithromax
erectile dysfunction with diabetes https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile function clinic in san antonio
viagra in canada for sale to united states https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra without a doctor prescription in canada
Hello! I could have sworn I've visited this blog before but
after looking at a few of the posts I realized it's new to me.
Regardless, I'm certainly happy I discovered it and I'll be bookmarking it
and checking back regularly!
Also visit my blog: Private investigator Madrid
https://thesisacloud.com/ – thesisacloud.com thesis publishing thesisacloud.com doctoral thesis writing