Seven US Navy SEAL’s have been disciplined for revealing secrets during work as paid consultants on a video game, officials say.
They received reprimand letters and had half of their pay docked for two months for work on Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
The active-duty troops reportedly include one member of the team that killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011.
The game, published by Electronic Arts, does not recreate the Bin Laden mission but purports to show realistic raids.
Those punished were two Senior Chief Special Operators and five Chief Special Operators.
They were charged with violation of orders, misuse of command gear, dereliction of duty and disclosure of classified material.
Seven Navy Seals received reprimand letters and had half of their pay docked for two months for work on Medal of Honor Warfighter
The seven troops worked for two days during the spring and summer on the recently released video game, according to CBS News.
The game’s maker has boasted that real commandos, both on active duty and retired, were involved with the process of designing the game to make it as realistic as possible.
It is not clear what classified secrets were divulged by the troops while they were consulting for Electronic Arts. But they reportedly used material from the US Navy.
“We do not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do as sailors in the United States Navy,” Deputy Commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli told the Associated Press.
He added that the disciplinary action would “send a clear message throughout our force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability”.
Four other Navy SEAL’s are also under investigation, US reports said. They are said to have left Team Six but are still said to be on active duty.
The Navy SEAL’s usually respect an unwritten code of staying out of the public eye.
SEAL Team Six is now a household name, celebrated on T-shirts and immortalized in film.
The unit was the subject of a recent TV movie about the Bin Laden raid in Pakistan and will feature in another film, about the rescue of a ship’s captain kidnapped by Somali pirates.
Meanwhile, another member of the team on the Bin Laden raid wrote a book, No Easy Day, giving his account of that operation.
Some details of Osama Bin Laden’s death offered in the book differed from the official version of events.
The content of the book was not reviewed first by the Pentagon, and officials warned that criminal charges could have resulted from the improper disclosure of secret information.
Conservatives feared SEAL Team Six, the film about the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, was an underhanded propaganda ploy by President Barack Obama’s supporters.
But the made-for-TV movie, released two days before the elections, was a flop. When it debuted on Sunday, it was panned by TV critics as a “dim and simple-minded work of fiction” – incapable of swaying even the most ambivalent voters.
SEAL Team Six was produced by one of Barack Obama’s biggest backers in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein, who rushed it forward to ensure it debuted before November 6.
Harvey Weinstein also oversaw editing changes that played up Barack Obama’s role in ordering the May 2011 commando assault into Pakistan that killed the al-Qaeda leader.
Fact-checkers also point out several inaccuracies in the movie – including the idea that then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates opposed going after Osama bin Laden.
SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden was billed as a political game-changer – released just a two days before the dead-even election between Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, conservatives feared it would give the president free propaganda and unfairly sway voters at a critical time.
Barack Obama has campaigned on his role in the death of the 9/11 mastermind – frequently touting: “GM is alive and Osama bin Laden is dead.”
The film casts the president as an “edited-in-costar”, writes Ken Tucker, an Entertainment Weekly film critic.
Baltimore Sun critic David Zurawick panned the movie as suffering the same flaws as most made-for-TV docu-dramas – but he said the film had a clear political objective.
“<<SEAL Team Six>> feels more like propaganda at times than it does prime-time entertainment. Yet it will still leave you with a feel-good surge, if not a lump in your throat, at the end when the team returns from its mission. And that visceral response makes you want to believe even more in the heroic actions you just witnessed. One of those heroes is President Barack Obama,” he wrote.
SEAL Team Six was produced by one of Barack Obama’s biggest backers in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein, who rushed it forward to ensure it debuted before November 6
It splices in several pieces of real-life footage of the president at the time – including footage of him cracking jokes at the White House Correspondents dinner on the eve of the raid, as well as his remarks to the country after Osama bin Laden’s death.
But TV critics say the movie, which aired on National Geographic, fizzled.
“As either propaganda or realist fiction <<SEAL Team Six>> is ineffective. It’s on the level of those <<The army is just like a character-building video game!>> enlistment ads you see before movies, simple-minded and, at most, superficially rousing. Barack Obama probably isn’t wild about help this dim,” writes Willa Paskin of Salon.com.
Ken Tucker said the cheesy banter between the actors playing Navy SEALS sounded like it had been “checked out from a well-preserved World War II supply closet”.
Example: “In this world you don’t get to live free without working for it. You gotta earn it every day, and that day we did,” a commando named Cherry, played by Anson Mount, declares.
Among the other sins in the movie is its unhealthy blend of fact and fiction, critics say. It even gets several key points dead wrong.
It portrays Defense Secretary Robert Gates as opposed to the raid – a role that makes Barack Obama’s decision to attack even more heroic.
However, Robert Gates was initially skeptical of sending commandos into Pakistan because he wasn’t certain bin Laden was actually at the compound in Abbottabad. He later changed his position when it was confirmed the terrorist leader was inside.
The movie also shows a dramatic firefight in the building where Osama bin Laden was killed. Most accounts of the raid say that the only exchange was fire was in a guest house when Osama bin Laden’s courier shot at the SEALs.
President Barack Obama will be featured front and center in an upcoming film which telling the story of the heroics of the elite SEAL team who brought down Osama bin Laden, thanks to heavy re-editing, it has been revealed.
SEAL Team Six: The Raid On Osama Bin Laden, backed by Academy Award-winning producer Harvey Weinstein, is set to air on November 4, two days before the election, and has been re-cut from its original format to feature more prominently the Commander-in-Chief.
But news of the edit has sparked an outcry with some Republicans who alleged that Harvey Weinstein, who is a known supporter of the president, is trying to sway the election.
According to the New York Times, which was provided an advanced copy of the film, additional documentary footage was added in, showing Barack Obama’s behind-the-scenes role during the covert operation.
There is a cut of Barack Obama a night before the raid at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, as well as a shot of the president taking a lonely walk.
The film also includes Barack Obama saying: “Justice has been done,” the Times reported.
The 90-minute drama, which is set to air on the National Geographic channel on November 4, focuses on SEAL Team Six and their dangerous mission to bring down the former al-Qaeda leader. A streaming version will be available 24 hours after the first air date on Netflix.
Because it focuses on one of the president’s shining moments in office, Republicans have blasted the network for being partisan.
An article on Fox Nation is entitled “Hollywood editing movies to help Obama win”, though it links back to the original New York Times article.
One angry commenter on the Fox Nation site wrote: “Democrats will do ANYTHING to re-elect Obama…I don’t even want to ponder what they may try to do next.”
Barack Obama, pictured in the Situation Room on May 1, 2011
However, National Geographic Chanel’s president Howard T. Owens told the Hollywood Reporter earlier this month that the claims were not the case, saying simply: “We’re not trying for this to be political film.”
Rather, Howard T. Owens said that the movie was a “great opportunity” to turn potential viewers on some of their other programs in its fall schedule.
He also told the Times in a phone interview Tuesday that a scene featuring Mitt Romney appearing to oppose the raid was removed.
“We wouldn’t air this if it were propaganda,” he explained.
The president and his campaign had nothing to do with the creation of the movie, Harvey Weinstein said.
The producer also noted that he has been a supporter of Republican candidates, like New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The Times reported that Harvey Weinstein purchased the rights to the movie for around $2.5 million at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The Weinstein Co. film is directed by John Stockwell, known for directing Top Gun and Turistas.
It was produced by Harvey Weinstein, along with The Hurt Locker’s Nicolas Chartier.
John Stockwell told the Times on Tuesday that the re-edit was meant to bring a deeper sense of reality to it.
Harvey Weinstein added that some of the footage was collected by producer Meghan O’Hara, who has in turn worked for polarizing documentarian Michael Moore on projects like Sicko and Fahrenheit 9/11.
The film comes ahead of December’s bigger-budget Zero Dark Thirty, directed by The Hurt Locker’s Kathryn Bigelow, which will be released by Sony Pictures.