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Whats so wrong about a special forces ex-member writing a book?

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  • #16
    After basic training and all the language and job specific training I had to have before I started working in the intelligence field in the US Army there was one last thing to do before I could begin work:

    All of us working with SCI (Sensitive Compartmentalized Information) had to sign paperwork stating that we were required to submit ANY material we published in the future to be reviewed by the government before release. In addition it specifically included unclassified materials and information that was sensitive (was classified or should have been classified) but that we could find through unclassified sources.

    It further included an agreement that entitled the government to all profits from materials that were published without first being submitted to the government.

    I don't know if things have changed since the early 80's or if the SF guys who also have access to certain SCI materials do not have the same requirement. I never had any reason to ask any of the ones I worked with about it and have not thought about it since.

    As someone else mentioned I have no idea how enforceable something like this is. I have also never heard of this being done to anyone.
    Last edited by Widow Maker; 14 Nov 14, 16:09.
    "Put guards on all the roads, and don't let the men run to the rear."
    Major General John Buford's final words on his deathbed.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by jonny87kz View Post
      I just hope his book doesn't say that seals are "silent professionals" as so many other seal books say.
      You can say that again

      “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” -- Albert Einstein

      The US Constitution doesn't need to be rewritten it needs to be reread

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      • #18
        I think that some of it is jealousy. The last time that I went to Barnes and Noble, they had a full shelf of books by ex-Seals. Chris Kyle and the others never got in trouble.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
          What Fox interview? I probably missed it, I don't waste much time on television.
          http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/11/12...ews-interview/

          Ask and it will be given to you..
          That rug really tied the room together

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          • #20
            Ask and it will be given to you..
            Thanks SubFrench!

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            • #21
              Originally posted by sebfrench76 View Post
              Thanks for the interview clip, enjoyed hearing the seal talk. Like most of those guys, he is very sharp physically, mentally, and psychologically--the movie 007's, especially Craig, are modeled after these types of guys.

              I have not heard any reaction to his interview, but he has done it right, and I'm not concerned about showboating or compromise of sources and methods since Bowden seems to have covered it already.
              Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 17 Nov 14, 12:18.
              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by sebfrench76 View Post
                Thanks. Great one to listen too.

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                • #23
                  Hi

                  The most (in)famous one in the UK was the furore surrounding the publication of Spycatcher by Peter Wright from MI5.

                  Brief details here care of Wiki:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spycatcher

                  The Official Secrets Act in the UK is the basic tenent for most people within military & government circles. In addition there are some enhancements for certain specialisms & fields of work, which are bloody tiresome and often egregious.

                  Regards
                  "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                  "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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                  • #24
                    In his PhD thesis ' Rendering the Mortal Blow Easier: Special Operations an the Nature of Strategy' * James Kiras said a few things on related subjects;
                    Firstly there's the issue of secrecy - Some things remain classified for a long time. 'many of the details of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observation Group (MACVSOG), which operated in North VIetnam, Laos and Cambodia, were only declassified a quarter-century later. '
                    'The second category of monographs related to special operations is the unit history. These narratives discuss the specific actions of special forces over a period of time: a battle, a campaign, a war, or several decades. Depending on the special force discussed, unit histories can be repetitive; this reflects the secrecy surrounding special operations and the difficulty of acquiring new source material' --- and the same goes, I'd imagine for personal accounts----
                    'Unit histories rarely venture beyond the narrative retelling of events. Although the authors are sympathetic to their subject matters, sometimes to a fault, many unit histories are useful sources nevertheless in providing a context for individual operations and memoirs.....
                    Closely related to unit histories is a third category: individual memoirs and biographies. Memoirs and biographies of special operators have strengths and weaknesses as sources. Some offer meaningful insights into the nature of special operations and the frame of mind separating special forces from their conventional kin. ....Other memoirs are less useful comprising self-aggrandizing works targeted specifically at an audience seeking to live vicariously through the exploits of warriors (Footnote) The line between fact and fantasy is blurred and many enterprising authors of memoires and autobiographies turn their pens to the more lucrative fields of fiction, self-help or survival.(Footnote 2) Finally there is the category of memoir that further blurs the distinction between veracity and fancy: the manufactured memoir. Such works throw into question the legitimacy of special operations as a field of study….




                    (footnote - pararphrased slightly for ease of reproduction) Failure, lackluster performance, braggadocio and 'setting the record straight', among other reasons, motivate many authors to wwrite such works. Vladimir 'Popski' peniakoff wrote Popski's Private Army...to argue why he established a special unit that provided little more than brigade intelligence during the Second World War. 'Charging' Charlie Beckwith offered Delta Force in the wake of the failed Iran hostage rescue mission. Richard Marcinko penned Rogue Warrior after federal indictment and a prison sentence on conspiracy charges. Chris Ryan, the only member of an ill-fated Gulf War patrol to avoid death or capture, wrote The One That Got Away to tell his version of the story and criticise Andy McNab's leadership of the mission. The success of special forces in the first phase of U.S. war on terrorism has also spawned its own version of such works...

                    [Footnote 2]Andy McNab and Chris Ryan have become best-selling techno-thriller authors, but their success pales in comparison to Richard Marcinko. ….Dozens more works too numerous to list…offer photographic surveys of special forces..provide specious advice on how to ‘become’ special operators or join special operations units, in addition to other works that seek to impar leadership lessons gleaned from special forces service. Finally, spouses of former operators are also quick to cash in on the interest in special forces. The ‘books’ written by Frances Nicholson, ex-wife of Andy McNab, have set the standards for new lows in the publishing industry. See for example ‘The SAS Sex Survival Handbook’
                    So what Kiras is more or less saying is, Spec Ops literature is a mine-field. A lot of it is tainted by deliberate biases (let alone the natural biases that seep into all histories), fulfil agendas, or are downright falsified bullshit. Adding to the corpus of Spec Ops works doesn’t de-fog any of that, it may only contribute to further undermine it as a genre.
                    There’s also a question IMO, of utility as Kiras also alludes to– the personal account of one man in the field may make for a good story but its use in furthering our knowledge is perhaps negligible. That’s more an academic complaint – it’s no reason why one shouldn’t produce a work for their own reasons, or even just because ‘they can’ a work doesn’t have to have to provide fundamental new historical points to exist. Although that does bring into a certain question of ‘why does the author feel the need to share their time in special forces?’ there’s a thin line between information, it would seem, in this field, and then in ‘bragging.’ In some circles it could be seen as a bit attention seeking, so is it tasteful to flood the market with these many spec ops biographies? Do they serve a particular ‘good’ for the reading public or is it just masturbatory tales to fit the Call of Duty generation?
                    Or, is it just enough that people are willing to pay for them and read them? The libertarian in me suggests so.
                    ------
                    'I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.' - Thomas Jefferson

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                    • #25
                      I don't care that he wrote a book. I do care that SEALs seem to be gaining a reputation for writing their book/screenplay on the ride back from whatever special op they just came back from. I do care that they want to be on par with other silent professionals, but want to keep their PR machine in full gear.

                      Maybe I'm jealous because who wants to hear about fobbit printer repair and digital signature issues in Iraq?

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                      • #26
                        Compromising information is the biggest fear, and it doesn't take much. These writers never go back, they are for all practical purposes done.
                        My worst jump story:
                        My 13th jump was on the 13th day of the month, aircraft number 013.
                        As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
                        No lie.

                        ~
                        "Everything looks all right. Have a good jump, eh."
                        -2 Commando Jumpmaster

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Widow Maker View Post
                          After basic training and all the language and job specific training I had to have before I started working in the intelligence field in the US Army there was one last thing to do before I could begin work:

                          All of us working with SCI (Sensitive Compartmentalized Information) had to sign paperwork stating that we were required to submit ANY material we published in the future to be reviewed by the government before release. In addition it specifically included unclassified materials and information that was sensitive (was classified or should have been classified) but that we could find through unclassified sources.

                          It further included an agreement that entitled the government to all profits from materials that were published without first being submitted to the government.

                          I don't know if things have changed since the early 80's or if the SF guys who also have access to certain SCI materials do not have the same requirement. I never had any reason to ask any of the ones I worked with about it and have not thought about it since.

                          As someone else mentioned I have no idea how enforceable something like this is. I have also never heard of this being done to anyone.
                          It's not just those with TS/SCI. We had to sign the same thing during inprocessng at Ft. Gordon.

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