Jesse Ventura Says White House Publicity of Navy SEALs Could End Up Destroying Them

Jesse Ventura says Navy SEALs need to stay out of the public eye.

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Members of a West Coast-based Navy SEAL team participate in infiltration and exfiltration training during a Northern Edge training exercise.

Jesse Ventura, who was a Navy SEAL long before he was a professional wrestler or Minnesota governor, says the publicity that has been drawn to the elite frogmen by the White House is all wrong.

"When I was in the Navy the public didn't know who we were," Ventura told Whispers. "The SEALs are clandestine warriors and they should stay that way."

[See: Photos of Navy SEALs]

Ventura compares the attention given to the SEALs to past publicity of the Army Green Berets, which he said "ended up destroying them."

The former governor says he won't see Kathryn Bigelow's upcoming movie on the SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden.

The movie came under fire last month when it was revealed by watchdog group Judicial Watch that the Pentagon may have given Bigelow access to high-level information and resources—including to a member of the Navy SEAL team who was at the raid. (Defense Secretary Leon Panetta insisted in testimony to Congress that "no unauthorized disclosures" were made.)

Ventura, who served in Navy special operations for six years during the Vietnam War, said if asked to join the military today he would be a "conscientious objector."

Though he has endorsed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president, Ventura supports Ron Paul's idea to close every military base in a foreign country.

"We have become an empire," Ventura said. "And an empire is what brought Rome down."

Ventura, who says he is non-partisan and would like to abolish the two-party system, has a new book out called "DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government".

The book criticizes the gang-like mentality of the two-party system and argues that to reform our electoral system, the influence of money in politics must diminish.

"I think that all congressman, senators, when they campaign should wear Nascar racing suits," Ventura says, only half-joking. "They have their sponsors, or donors, on big patches. Then we can learn as citizens who owns this candidate."

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at eflock@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.