In a not so thinly-veiled swipe at the President and his closest advisers in the White House, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates lashed out at “people” who have released operational details of the Navy Seal action two weeks ago that lead to the death of terrorist kingpin, Osama bin Laden.
Gates talked about how details of the raid leaked out even though everyone had promised to keep details a secret.
“Frankly a week ago Sunday, in the (White House) situation room, we all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden,” he said.
“That all fell apart on Monday, the next day.”
The role of the more than 20 SEALs who carried out the helicopter assault on bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan was first publicly confirmed by CIA Director Leon Panetta and Vice President Joe Biden in the days after the raid.Gates was speaking at a town hall of Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C..
The issue with the leaks was the safety of the Navy Seals and their families. Gates said threats against U.S. troops have increased since bin Laden’s death.
As a result, there has been a “consistent and effective effort,” he said, to protect the identities of the team – widely reported to be the Navy’s SEAL Team Six.
“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 said.
Gates added that the military was looking at measures to pump up the security around them.Were one to check the record, they would find that most of the discussion regarding operational details have not been coming from the State Department, or Defense Department but from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Remember the multiple-versions of the operation provided by Press Secretary Jay Carney that needed to be corrected so many times, that he finally had to issue a step by step guide to the operation in writing.
Gates was indicating that the POTUS’ desire to release all the details may have placed the Seals and their families in danger.
The White House not only released the details, but then with the help of his friends in the media, rubbed al Qaeda’s nose in the dirt.
This President who emphasized that we did not need to “spike the football” regarding the death of bin Laden, has been going against his own policy, doing one heck of an end zone dance.