December 29, 2014:
U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) is furious at senior government officials and the CIA for revealing methods used by SOCOM operators to carry out important missions. The most spectacular leak came after the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. SOCOM explained that SEALs and other SOCOM commando units have a limited playbook of tactics and techniques that work best. These methods were developed over many years in multiple high-risk operations. But one key to the success of these tactics is surprise. If potential enemies know too many details of SOCOM methods and tactics they can develop countermeasures that make SOCOM tactics riskier and, eventually, not worth using any more. Just developing new tactics does not work because revealing details of previous tactics enables the terrorists to develop more effective security measures. These more effective defensive techniques make all assault tactics more difficult.
The officials who made the damaging leaks in the first place were not punished. Most, in fact, were not even identified. These officials are unrepentant and senior enough to be untouchable. SOCOM was, in effect, told to suck it up and move on. The leakers were seeking to look good by getting more attention for themselves as a result of spectacular commando operations. This sort of attitude makes does little for SOCOM morale and the ability to keep experienced operators in uniform. Apparently politicians and senior government officials don’t think that far ahead or care about the damage they are doing.