independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Elite US soldiers punished for leaking secrets to maker of new videogame

SEVEN members of an elite US Navy SEAL team, including one helped kill Osama bin Laden, have been punished for revealing secrets while contributing to new videogame Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

All seven of the special operations forces who were docked pay and officially reprimanded were members of the elite SEAL Team Six. The seven worked for two days this spring and summer as paid consultants on the videogame.

Two senior chief special operators and five chief special operators received a reprimand for their involvement in the production of Warfighter, released by gamemaker EA last month.

All seven were punished in an administrative proceeding for disclosing classified information and misusing command gear while working with the gamemakers, who advertise that the videogame is more accurate because of the help they had from special operations forces.

The seven each received a punitive letter of reprimand and were docked half pay for two months.

Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli, the deputy commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, said the Navy treats allegations of misconduct seriously and also enforces nondisclosure agreements signed by sailors who join the special operations forces.

"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 in a statement after the administrative punishment was handed down.

"The non-judicial punishment decisions made today send a clear message throughout our force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability," he said.

The punishment of the seven active-duty SEALS comes about two months after the Pentagon threatened to take legal action against former US Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette for writing an unauthorised book about the 2011 commando raid that killed bin Laden.

The Pentagon said the book "No Easy Day", written under the pen name Mark Owen, had been published in violation of nondisclosure agreements Bissonnette signed while a SEAL.

Bissonnette's attorneys and publishers insisted the book had been carefully reviewed to ensure it disclosed no classified information, and that he had fulfilled his duty.

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