A new PBS documentary featuring interviews with numerous Navy SEALs has again raised the question how quiet current and former members of the force should remain about their work. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kim McLendon/ U.S. Navy)

Navy SEAL leaders warned last week that current and former members of Naval Special Warfare Command should remember that a critical part of the SEAL ethos is, “I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions.” The warning came as the U.S. military grappled with how to deal with the disclosure of secrets about the May 2, 2011, raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Nevertheless, a new PBS documentary about the SEALs premiered on Veterans Day outlining Navy SEAL history. Narrated by actor and veterans advocate Gary Sinise, it traces Navy SEAL history over several decades, and includes interviews with such prominent SEALs as Vice Adm. Joseph Maguire, who served as a commander at Naval Special Warfare Command and as a deputy director at the National Counterterrorism Center before retiring in 2010.

The documentary is called “Navy SEALs: Their Untold Story,” and can be seen on the PBS Web site here. Here are a few clips of it:

The video was posted on the Facebook page for U.S. Special Operations Command on Wednesday, and immediately generated criticism, even though no secrets appear to be disclosed.

“Wait a tic … there are actual stories out there that the SEALs have not told?!?” one commenter said.

“Silent Professionals…” another responded, a reference to the SEAL ethos.


Navy Cmdr. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the SEALs, said the documentary had been in the works since 2012, and was vetted by the Defense Department before publication. It did not include active-duty participation, however, he added. Unlike books about the bin Laden raid, it also does not include a laser focus on one mission.

One of the shooters in that mission, Matt Bissonnette, published a best-selling book in 2012, “No Easy Day,” and remains under investigation by the Pentagon for allegedly disclosing classified information.

Another member of that SEAL team, Rob O’Neill, revealed himself recently to The Washington Post as the man who killed bin Laden. He did so in an effort to maintain control of the story, he said, adding that several members of Congress already knew. His identity had been disclosed by SOFREP.com, written by current and former Special Operations troops, after Fox News publicized that it would reveal the shooter’s identity in an interview that aired on Veterans Day. It can be viewed here:

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