The Pentagon moved quickly Wednesday to knock down a rumor spreading on the Internet that one of the Navy SEALs killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan Aug. 16 was the same special operator who killed Osama Bin Laden.
"It's not true," said George Little, the chief Pentagon spokesman, when asked about the rumors that spread quickly on social media sites. Reports appeared on Twitter that a Bin Laden raid operative from SEAL Team 6 was aboard the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that crashed in southern Kandahar on Aug. 16, killing all 11 aboard to include two SEALs.
"The rumor remains a rumor," Little said.
Similar rumors circulated in August 2011 when a Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, killing all 38 aboard including 17 SEALs.
Some of those SEALs were members of SEAL Team 6, the team that carried out the raid on Bin laden's compound in Abottabad, Pakistan, but those killed did not take part in the operation, Pentagon officials said.
In the Aug. 16 Black Hawk crash, Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick D. Feeks, 28, of Edgewater, Md., and Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class David J. Warsen, 27, of Kentwood, Mich., were among those killed. Both were assigned to a "West Coast-based naval Special warfare unit," the Defense Department said in releasing the names of those on the helicopter.
Also killed was Explosive Ordnance Disposal Petty Officer Technician 1st Class Sean P. Carson, 32, of Des Moines, Wash., assigned to an explosive ordnance disposal mobile unit in San Diego.
Others killed aboard the Black Hawk were Chief Warrant Officer Brian D. Hornsby, 37, of Melbourne, Fla., and Chief Warrant Officer Suresh N. A. Krause, 29, of Cathedral City, Calif.; Sgt. Richard A. Essex, 23, of Kelseyville, Calif., and Sgt. Luis A. Oliver Galbreath, 41, of San Juan, Puerto Rico – all four were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The rumored death of a member of the Bin Laden raid team comes amidst the controversy surrounding charges made against the president by a group formed by special operators and CIA agents. The group, called the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, released a 22-minute video ripping President Obama and his administration for approving leaks about the raid that killed Bin Laden.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, criticized the OPSEC group saying the former special operators had broken the commitment by the military and intelligence agents to stay above the political fray, Agence France Press reported.
"And one of the things that marks us as a profession in a democracy, in our form of democracy, that's most important is that we remain apolitical," Dempsey said Tuesday aboard his plane traveling from Afghanistan to Iraq. "That's how we maintain our bond and trust with the American people."