Members of SEAL Team Six, the Navy squad that killed Osama bin Laden, are concerned that leaks about the raid will compromise their anonymity and threaten the safety of their families, Defense Secretary Gates said Thursday.
Members of the Navy SEAL team whose daring mission ended the life of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden are concerned for the safety of their families. As details of the raid continue to leak out, the US military is exploring ways to “pump up the security" for SEAL Team Six, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.
“There is an awareness that the threat of retaliation is increased because of the action against bin Laden,” Mr. Gates said during a town hall meeting at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina.
When Gates met with SEAL Team Six last week, he said, team members expressed concern for their continued anonymity and their safety, “particularly with respect to their families.”
Before the May 1 strike, only a few key players knew of it. President Obama said on "60 Minutes" that most White House staffers, and even his wife, were kept in the dark. Gates said he and the other officials who gathered in the White House situation room to watch the raid agreed they would “not release any operational details” about the hunt for bin Laden.
“That all fell apart on Monday, the next day,” said Gates on Thursday.
Indeed, more information about the raid continues to come out. CBS reported Thursday that helmet cameras on all 25 of the SEALs recorded the entire raid, and that those images are being analyzed to give officials a clearer picture of what happened during the 40 minutes the strike force was in the bin Laden compound.
Additional details confirmed Thursday include that SEALs were fired upon by just one person, a courier who fired shots from the compound's guesthouse, and that the SEALs' first sighting of bin Laden was on the third-floor landing on the main house. A SEAL fired at and missed bin Laden as the Al Qaeda leader retreated from the landing to his bedroom. It also has been confirmed that no one in the main house was armed, though weapons were close by.
The video also showed that the first SEAL to enter bin Laden’s bedroom grabbed two of bin Laden's daughters and pulled them aside. A second SEAL entered and pushed one of bin Laden’s wives aside after she moved toward him, and then shot bin Laden in the chest. A third SEAL entered and shot bin Laden in the head.
Though new details about the operation have been revealed, “there has been a consistent and effective effort” to keep SEAL Team Six identities secret, Gates said. “I think that has to continue," he said.