Under the Radar

Sound Off: 'Selling the Trident'

As news breaks about issues with alleged drug use in the ranks of Navy SEALs, CBS News contacted nine current and former SEALs (via interview, email and text message) who say that drugs aren't the only issue in the force. For the record, officials with the Naval Special Warfare command are pushing back on the drug use allegations, saying that the data doesn't support the allegations.

One anonymous member wrote, “...there’s been a corruption within the teams. The death of our quiet professionalism continues to erode at our ethos, and endangers our teammates overseas, not to mention our families at home."

In a CBS News This Morning report, some go as far as calling the problem "profiteering." Check out the video below.

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The SEALs who spoke to CBS on camera agreed to do so only if the network hid their faces and disguised their voices. They didn't mince words. There's real concern that talking too much about SEAL tactics is a risk not worth taking. As one SEAL says, "The community has got to stop seeking the limelight and exposing what they do or it continues to put people in danger.”

The 2012 video game Medal of Honor: Warfighter and its promotional videos is still an issue for these guys. One retired SEAL offered CBS a list of objections to the game and its marketing. His complaints:

  • Involved active duty SEALs and Agency personnel openly discussing and showing critical tactics and procedures for breaching, infiltration, fire team movement and shooting, sniping, etc. as well as detailed discussions and examples of equipment and weapons systems.
  • Videos of clearly active duty operations and training were shown involving DOD assets, boats, planes, weapons, etc.
  • Critical entry tactics were exposed.
  • Massive, overt dissemination of spec ops tactics, equipment and methods.
After the game came out, seven Navy SEALs were disciplined for their contributions to Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

Movies are the other big issue raised by the group. Zero Dark Thirty and Captain Phillips are mentioned as films that reveal tactics but the real frustration is aimed at Act of Valor, the Navy-approved action thriller that featured real SEALs performing the movie's missions and struggling their way through the acting scenes. The success of the film may have helped recruiting but a few individuals have turned the exposure to personal profit. CBS and the SEALs don't discuss the monster success of American Sniper and Lone Survivor, nor do the bring up the current hit series SIX.

What do you think? Does a high public profile endanger the mission for special operations forces? Or does the celebration of their accomplishments help raise the profile of the military with the civilian population? Let us know your thoughts and sound off!

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