Navy SEALs from Bin Laden kill unit spanked for video game work

Alright men. Who HASN'T got a media deal of some kind?


Seven members of US special forces have been slapped on the wrist and had their pay docked for revealing ‘trade secrets’ to a games developer.

According to US TV network CBS, the seven soldiers, all active members of SEAL Team 6*, spent two days last summer telling Medal of Honor: Warfighter creator Electronic Arts about operating behind enemy lines, sneaking into compounds, shooting terrorists - "Filthy hun weasels, fighting their dirty underhand war!" - and such.

The US military found out and has halved the soldiers’ pay for two months and put formal letters of reprimand in their files, the channels said.

One of the unnamed fighters is said to have participated in the successful attempt to kill Osama bin Laden, though the game doesn’t simulate that mission. What it does portray are the kind of operations special forces are tasked with in the popular imagination and which we’ve been glimpsing on our TV screens since the SAS - "Splendid fellows, brave heroes risking life and limb for Blighty!" - went into the Iranian Embassy in London in 1980.

EA says its game was plotted by actual special forces members while deployed overseas and called on other service personnel to help give it verisimilitude. Or as much veracity as any form of home entertainment can be said to have.

Not that EA will be in any way unhappy with the extra publicity the story will have brought Warfighter, which was released last month.

Special forces are, of course, not supposed to discuss their shadowy lives, but it’s becoming increasingly hard to retain any level of secrecy given how highly SEALs, Deltas, the SAS and such now figure in popular culture. There’s no shortage of books written by former operatives, some more colourful than others.

Assuming, of course, drones don't put them all out of work in the near future.

And the US Department of Defense can’t complain too much about its troops getting involved with videogames, having itself created the freeware first-person shooter America’s Army in the 1990s as a recruiting tool. ®

Bootnotes

*The "Tier One" SEAL unit, which can only be joined after making one's mark among the ordinary frogman-commando SEAL teams - themselves a rest-of-the-best lesser elite. It is actually formally titled the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NAVSPECWARDEVGRU, NSWDG, DevGru etc) - though strictly speaking it is not acknowledged to exist - but is more popularly referred to by its old name SEAL Team Six. The unit's name was changed and there was reorganisation following some controversy around the unit accounts and the activities of its colourful inaugural commander in the 1980s, Richard Marcinko.

It was of course operators from Team-Six/DevGru who made up the bulk of the raiding party which killed Osama bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan in an operation dubbed Neptune Spear.

It is also thought to have been a Team-Six SEAL who accidentally killed British hostage Linda Norgrove with a grenade during a bungled rescue operation in Afghanistan in 2010. It subsequently emerged that members of the unit afterwards tried to cover the mistake up, and that they failed to disclose to their superiors that a grenade had been thrown.


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading
  • FTC signals crackdown on ed-tech harvesting kid's data
    Trade watchdog, and President, reminds that COPPA can ban ya

    The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said it intends to take action against educational technology companies that unlawfully collect data from children using online educational services.

    In a policy statement, the agency said, "Children should not have to needlessly hand over their data and forfeit their privacy in order to do their schoolwork or participate in remote learning, especially given the wide and increasing adoption of ed tech tools."

    The agency says it will scrutinize educational service providers to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations under COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

    Continue reading
  • Mysterious firm seeks to buy majority stake in Arm China
    Chinese joint venture's ousted CEO tries to hang on - who will get control?

    The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country.

    In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China.

    The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company.

    Continue reading
  • SmartNICs power the cloud, are enterprise datacenters next?
    High pricing, lack of software make smartNICs a tough sell, despite offload potential

    SmartNICs have the potential to accelerate enterprise workloads, but don't expect to see them bring hyperscale-class efficiency to most datacenters anytime soon, ZK Research's Zeus Kerravala told The Register.

    SmartNICs are widely deployed in cloud and hyperscale datacenters as a means to offload input/output (I/O) intensive network, security, and storage operations from the CPU, freeing it up to run revenue generating tenant workloads. Some more advanced chips even offload the hypervisor to further separate the infrastructure management layer from the rest of the server.

    Despite relative success in the cloud and a flurry of innovation from the still-limited vendor SmartNIC ecosystem, including Mellanox (Nvidia), Intel, Marvell, and Xilinx (AMD), Kerravala argues that the use cases for enterprise datacenters are unlikely to resemble those of the major hyperscalers, at least in the near term.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022