Immediately following the death of Osama Bin Laden, numerous experts attempted to recount the U.S. Navy SEAL’s endeavors against the Al Qaeda mad man. Some persons were more credible than others. Today, the story continues in former Navy SEAL Chuck Pfarrer’s book SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama Bin Laden.
Make no mistake, if anyone knows what truly happened during the Bin Laden kill mission, excluding those operatives on the ground, it would be Chuck Pfarrer. Chuck served several years in the U.S. Navy as a SEAL, eventually ending his career with the very unit involved in the Pakistani raid—DEVGRU.
Even after being interviewed by several media outlets, it’s hard to believe that everyone who swiftly jumped on the story could be, at a minimum, partially wrong.
Chuck may also be a bit off in his depiction of the event; however, it is likely he is more astute about the situation than most--but why?
If Mr. Pfarrer is correct about the Bin Laden kill mission, rest assured that his previous SEAL background is not the main reason. Sure, he has the contacts within, but so do many of us. His contacts were not enough to shed full light into the public domain. Pfarrer’s ability to block fear is what actually shed the truth behind the real story of Operation Geronimo.
That’s right—controlled fear. For anyone who has served in any type of classified domain who later goes public, they often either subconsciously or consciously have some fear within them. That fear stems from saying the wrong thing to the wrong persons in the wrong setting. Such operatives have been programmed to live in a fear-based mode knowing that if they breach the trust instilled within, they could face serious ramifications.
Make no mistake, everything I write, I ensure that I can find the facts I use in open source domains just to reassure myself that I am not divulging anything I shouldn’t. But even with that, there are many things in open sources I just won’t discuss—because of fear. Mr. Pfarrer obviously cares more about truth and honor than any action which the government may attempt to endure against him.
Following the SEAL vs. Bin Laden episode, many national security professionals stuck with the game plan, to say only that which was released by Big Brother Uncle Sam. If the media was already divulging something, go along or revert back to what Uncle Sam released. They stuck together doing that which they were trained to do—hold secrets. Right, wrong, or indifferent, this is what they were taught and this is why so many conflicting reports have come about.
The confusion should have been mitigated. If the government would have simply provided facts instead of bits and pieces of truth, no one would have been left pondering the situation. Those professionals interviewed should not be ridiculed, though. Again, they did what they were trained to do by keeping what they knew as “classified” away from the public domain. Needless to say, I am sure many will be foolishly ridiculed anyway simply because too few understand the severity of breaching national security trust.
Still, even with Pfarrer’s recently released book, it is unlikely too many experts will confirm or deny anything he had written. With that said, congratulations Mr. Pfarrer, you held yourself to the standard which you believe in. You interviewed the right persons, took your own understanding towards special operations Direct Acton tactics, and feared not in writing an incredible account of brave American heroes exterminating evil.
Kerry Patton is a Senior Analyst for WIKISTRAT. He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. He is the author of “Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies” and the children's book "American Patriotism." You can follow him on Facebook.