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Secret History of SEAL Team 6 Revealed in NY Times Investigative Story

Image: Secret History of SEAL Team 6 Revealed in NY Times Investigative Story
Navy Special Warfare Trident insignia worn by qualified U.S. Navy SEALs. (Wikimedia/Commons)

By    |   Monday, 08 Jun 2015 12:43 PM

The secret history of SEAL Team 6 has been released in a New York Times investigative report depicting a variety of missions in Afghanistan.

The Naval Special Warfare Development Group — popularly known as SEAL Team 6 — gained national attention after the 2011 raid that killed al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

According to The New York Times, the unit responded to the regrouping of the Taliban between 2006 and 2008 in the Omega Program, leading to a number of civilian deaths.

“Do I think bad things went on? Do I think there was more killing than should have been done? Sure,” an anonymous former officer told the newspaper.

The Omega Program joined the CIA and the SEAL team to hunt Taliban fighters with fewer restrictions than other units. This included using a model in Pakistan similar to the Phoenix Program, a Vietnam-era tactic where Special Operations troops performed interrogations and assassinations, the newspaper reported.

According to The Times, when concerns about questionable killings were raised, sometimes SEALs were sent home.

An operation to take out a Taliban official called Objective Pantera prompted an investigation when reports of civilian deaths were made, but the SEALs were cleared of wrongdoing by the Joint Special Operations Command.

While military officials say no shots were fired on most raids, during some periods of weeks, the unit would kill 10 to 25 people a night, the newspaper reported.

The SEALs also used tomahawk axes in raids. An axe was used to kill at least one insurgent.

“It’s a dirty business,” a former senior enlisted SEAL told The Times. “What’s the difference between shooting them as I was told and pulling out a knife and stabbing them or hatcheting them?”

At times fingers or scalp patches were removed from corpses for DNA analysis, the newspaper noted.

The use of Omega Teams was reported in September of 2011, mentioning CIA personnel on bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen as well as on trips into Pakistan, according to The Washington Post.

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The secret history of SEAL Team 6 has been released in a New York Times investigative report depicting a variety of missions in Afghanistan.
secret, history, seal team 6, navy
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2015-43-08
Monday, 08 Jun 2015 12:43 PM
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