U.S. Navy SEALs, like the teams that killed Osama bin Laden, are grateful for nation's show of support but are growing angry with the continued focus on their operation, tactics, and tools, claiming it could jeopardize future raids and their safety.
"My friends in the community tell me they're very glad for the bit of attention they got," said former Pentagon deputy undersecretary Jed Babbin, "but at some point the best way to help them is to stop. You guys in the press have done a good job, but stop for God's sake, stop." [See photos of the reaction to bin Laden's death.]
The latest straw came when CBS revealed that the members of Special Warfare Development Group, formerly SEAL Team Six, wore helmet cams into bin Laden's lair. For many, that was a detail too far and could lead those being targeted by the military to somehow deploy countermeasures.
And Washington Whispers this week reported on two blogs that identified the type of gun the SEALs likely used to kill bin Laden, the HK416 .
"Anything further that comes out," added Babbin, a sponsor of the Special Operations Warfare Foundation, "could damage their operational security, maybe reveal tricks of the trade or even endanger their families."
Rob Curtis, who writes the Gear Scout blog for Military Times, said that there are concerns that the focus on the bin Laden raid has distracted the special operations world. "There are still plenty of HVTs [high-value targets] out there that Joint Special Operations Command is hunting and according to my sources close to and inside of SOCOM this story has become a huge distraction for the community."
What's more, he adds, "It's my feeling that the administration has aimed a spotlight into one of the darkest corners of our national security apparatus without regard for the damage it might do to its ongoing operations."
Of course, President Obama led the SEALs parade, even visiting with many after the killing in Pakistan. What's more, the public has a huge appetite for what some call "SEAL porn," stories about every little detail on how the special operations warriors operate.