Today's Article
Since September 11,
2001, the Navy has
carried out various
activities that often
'blurred the traditional
lines between soldier
and spy,' states the
report.
The American Spark
U.S. Navy Conducting Spy Activites, Says Report

By Cliff Montgomery - July 31st, 2018

Most people understand the importance of keeping a leash on U.S. intelligence organizations like the C.I.A.
Few would think of keeping a similar control on the Navy.

Yet “in the years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Navy has carried out a variety of
Irregular Warfare (IW) and Counter-Terrorism (CT) activities” that often “blurred the traditional lines between
soldier and spy,”
according to an eye-opening study recently released by the Congressional Research
Service (CRS).

The extreme secrecy of the Navy’s clandestine activities “makes it impossible to fully assess its record and
the consequences of its actions, [which include]  civilian  casualties [and]  the  deep  resentment  inside  the  
countries  where  its members  operate,” added the CRS report.

Below, the
American Spark offers its readers some of the most interesting points from this study:


In the years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Navy has carried out a variety of
Irregular Warfare (IW) and Counter-Terrorism (CT) activities.

“Among the most readily visible of these were operations carried out by Navy sailors serving ashore in the
Middle East and Afghanistan, and the May 1-2, 2011, U.S. military operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that
killed Osama bin Laden.

“During these years, the Navy took certain actions intended to improve its IW capabilities.” [...]

“The Navy’s current IW and CT activities pose a number of potential oversight issues for Congress, including
how much emphasis to place on IW and CT activities in Navy budgets - particularly in a context of constraints
on Navy budgets - and Navy desires to devote resources to developing ‘high end’ combat capabilities for
countering improved conventional military capabilities of countries such as China and Russia.” [...]

Role of Naval Special Warfare Development Group (Seal Team 6)

“Another potential oversight issue for Congress concerns the role of Seal Team 6 in Navy CT and IW
operations.

“A June 6, 2015, [
New York Times] press report states the following:

    ‘They  have  plotted  deadly  missions  from  secret  bases  in  the  badlands  of  Somalia.  

    ‘In Afghanistan, they have engaged in combat so intimate that they have emerged soaked in blood that
    was not their own.

    ‘On clandestine raids in the dead of the night, their weapons of choice have ranged from customized
    carbines to primeval tomahawks.

    ‘Around the world, they have run spying stations disguised as commercial boats, [or]posed as civilian  
    employees  of front  companies  and  operated  undercover  at  embassies  as  male-female pairs,
    tracking those the United States wants to kill or capture.

    ‘Those operations are part of the hidden history of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, one of the nation’s ... most
    secretive  and  least  scrutinized  military  organizations.

    ‘Once  a  small  group  reserved  for  specialized  but  rare  missions,  the  unit  [currently is] best known
    for killing  Osama  bin  Laden.

    ‘[But Navy SEAL Team 6]  has  been  transformed  by  more  than  a  decade  of  combat  into  a global
    man-hunting machine.

    ‘[In] America’s new way of war, ... conflict is distinguished not by battlefield wins and losses, but by the
    relentless killing of suspected militants.

    ‘Almost everything about SEAL Team 6, a classified Special Operations unit, is shrouded in secrecy—
    the Pentagon does not even publicly acknowledge that  name.’ [...]

    ‘While  fighting  grinding  wars  of  attrition  in  Afghanistan  and  Iraq,  Team  6  performed missions
    elsewhere that blurred the traditional lines between soldier and spy.

    ‘[For example] the team’s sniper  unit  was  remade  to  carry  out  clandestine  intelligence  operations,  
    and  the  SEALs joined Central Intelligence Agency operatives in an initiative called the Omega
    Program.’ [...]

    ‘[Though] Team 6 has  successfully  carried  out  thousands  of  dangerous  raids, ... its  activities  have  
    also  spurred  recurring concerns about excessive killing and civilian deaths....

    ‘When suspicions have been raised about misconduct, outside oversight has been limited.’ [...]

    ‘Even  the  military’s  civilian  overseers  do  not  regularly  examine  the  unit’s  operations.

    ‘ “This  is  an  area  where  Congress  notoriously  doesn’t  want  to  know  too  much,”  said Harold
    Koh, the State Department’s former top legal adviser, [who counseled] the Obama Administration on
    clandestine war....

    ‘Like  the  C.I.A.’s  campaign  of  drone  strikes, Special  Operations  missions  offer  policy makers  an  
    alternative  to  costly  wars  of  occupation.

    ‘But  the  bulwark  of  secrecy  around Team 6 makes it impossible to fully assess its record and the
    consequences of its actions, [which include]  civilian  casualties [and]  the  deep  resentment  inside  
    the  countries  where  its members  operate.

    ‘[These]  missions  have  become  embedded  in  American  combat  with  little public discussion or
    debate.’ ”


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