The quiet professional, and why it matters

I’ve gotten a lot of questions over the recent revelations of the various SEALs on the UBL mission, and for the most part, I’ve brushed them off, feeling somewhat hypocritical because, while I’m not a supporter of what they’re doing, I write fiction novels. Even though there is no comparison, I felt like it wasn’t my place to comment, but, with the latest interviews, I’ve had enough. I want to present why such things matter, and give a little inside skinny on what’s occurring.

I do feel very strongly about the revelations, for reasons you’ll see below, and make no mistake, the interviews are structured in such a way as to make the speaker look like the poor, beleaguered commando who just had no choice. The underdog who’s fighting for the truth without any thought of profit for themselves. Which isn’t accurate. They had a choice, and they made it. And I don’t mean they broke some ridiculous fraternal commando code that has no effect in the real world. If that were it, I wouldn’t care, but they – and those that follow behind, using them as inspiration – can actually harm our national security, something that appears to be lost in the debate. And they did so for personal gain. I don’t say that as a bitter Army SF guy aggravated at them talking just because their jaws are moving. This isn’t about service – or even unit – rivalries. The truth is in their very own words and deeds.

Whenever I read about Matt Bissonette’s revelations, and now Rob O’neill’s, there are three main defenses, and all of them are ridiculous. I’d like to take them on one at a time.

1.  I read the book/saw the interview, and he didn’t give anything up classified.

Whenever I hear this, the first thing I think is, “How in the hell would you know?” The very reason things are classified is to ensure they remain secret. If you heard a secret, and didn’t understand it was secret, how would you know?

There’s no way anyone not read-on to the mission – civilian or prior military – could read the book and determine if there was anything classified in it. NO WAY. It’s humorous that Bissonette is now suing his lawyer for “bad advice” because the lawyer supposedly told him he’d read the book and determined it was good to go. Really? So, Matt spent years in a unit where he wasn’t allowed to tell even his wife what he was doing, spent every mission being restrained from saying anything that had happened to even his closest relatives, and now had written a book that would expose the most famous classified mission in recent history to the GLOBE and he thought that was okay? Because a lawyer who supposedly had a clearance said it was acceptable? Sorry. That dog don’t hunt. Matt knew better. The lawyer’s security clearance is just that: Clearance to read classified information. It doesn’t give him omnipotent ability to DETERMINE classified. It’s comparable to having a driver’s license. You’re cleared to drive a car, but if a man pulled up and said, “Tell me where this car has been”, you’d say, “I have no idea. I’m allowed to drive it, but I can’t tell you where it’s been just by looking at it”.

On top of that, the very reason there is a clearance procedure within the department of defense is precisely because even Matt himself doesn’t understand what is harmful to American interests. Having lived in that world, you’re exposed to a ton of stuff that doesn’t have any real meaning to your mission, but if revealed could be detrimental to missions that you didn’t even know were being conducted. It’s why there is a review process. So that someone else, who DOES know, can read what you’ve written and see if it has an impact. I know of instances in books and press reports that could have a definite impact right now. They haven’t yet, but the information is out there, and if anyone makes the connection, it would be detrimental. The guy who wrote it didn’t do it because he was evil. He did it the same way Matt did: He didn’t know what he was giving up. It was secret, even to him.

I can’t give out specifics, but let me put out a hypothetical: I write a book about my exploits, and include photos. In the thirty pictures I put in, all innocuous because I’m by God not going to give up classified, I have one with me getting an award or some other crap from years ago. In the crowd is a man that I’ve never met, but he’s in my room, with a bunch of other Special Forces types. Unbeknownst to me, that man is now, ten years later, doing work on behalf of the United States acting as a nerdy computer salesman in a hostile country. One look at that picture, and he’s blown, captured and tortured because of the associations with my book. I had no intention of doing that, but I just DON’T KNOW what I don’t know. It’s why books are vetted. It’s why someone other than the author needs to look at the manuscript.

This very scenario played out in Vietnam when Nick Rowe was captured. He was an SF officer, and had managed to convince the Viet Cong that he was a lowly engineer. His hometown newspaper did a glowing article on his POW status, describing his Special Forces training. Anti-war idiots visited Hanoi and handed the enemy the article, and Nick Rowe came very close to being killed, actually escaping captivity while he was being led away for execution. That newspaper certainly had no intention of putting anyone in harm’s way. Quite the opposite, they were lionizing a home-town hero, but the damage occurred nonetheless.  The fact remains that most intelligence is gleaned by open source, with our enemies reading everything they can on us to determine weakness.  With terrorism it’s pretty much 100%.  The Al Qaida version of the KGB doesn’t exist, so they rely on open source information, and the data built is done brick by brick, one tidbit at a time.  One thing that seems innocuous can be pieced together with another thing from a separate article/book that also seems innocuous.  I hear people say, “What’s the big deal?  That stuff is in Call of Duty.  It’s not secret.”  You know why it’s in Call of Duty?  Do you think it’s because that geek code-writer knew what to put in?  No.  It’s because someone talked.  And yes, in at least one video game, that someone is Matt Bissonette, along with a bunch of his friends.

Matt’s story is that he thought he’d done what was necessary, coupled with a statement that he had no intention to profit. It was all about telling the story of the “team”. It wasn’t about him. An altruistic effort done solely to honor those he served with. This is belied by the facts. Take a look at his latest mea culpa on 60 minutes. He makes some telling statements. When asked if he gave up classified, he says, no, he didn’t, “To the best of my ability”. Which isn’t exactly honest. The best of his ability would have been to submit the book for review. Why didn’t he? If he had no intention of profit? Interestingly enough, there was another book about the UBL mission coming out at that time. Mark Bowden’s book, “The Finish”. The DOD revision process for Bissonette would take twelve months (Bowden had no such requirement, as he wasn’t on the ground and was basically fishing for information – which I’ll get to below). If it was all about setting the record straight, why not go the correct route? Did the lawyer convince him that waiting for the process and allowing Bowden’s book to release first would tarnish the reputation of his team? Or would waiting that long have taken the teeth out of his manuscript, losing profits by giving them to Bowden?

“Shooter” Rob Oneill’s latest interview with Bill O’reilly has him ostensibly coming to grips with going public after an emotional speaking engagement at the 9/11 museum, where he spontaneously went on stage to give his story for “closure.” Yet, by Peter Doocy’s admission (the man who initially interviewed him for the FOX special), O’neill had contacted him beforehand to film it, “in case he wanted to go public five, ten or twenty years from now.” To hear O’neill tell it, he had no intention of exposing his role, but was driven to do so by the “closure” he gave the families. Once again, this is belied by the fact that he gave a disgusting interview to Esquire the previous year complaining about how he’d killed Bin Laden and now had no military benefits. He was the greatest hero of our generation, and now he couldn’t get a job. Yeah, he can’t get a job because he just gave up his security clearance by blabbing. I’m no hero, and I get fourteen emails a day asking me if I’d like to work. But that requires a clearance, which you can’t have if you spend all your time giving up classified information to anyone who will listen on the motivational speaking circuit.

One comment in the 60 Minutes interview is telling. When asked if he provided classified information in his book, Matt’s answer is, “Not intentionally.”

Yeah, I agree. That’s why there’s a review process.

2.  It’s not fair that Generals, Admirals, and the head of the CIA can write books when the guy getting shot at can’t.

This argument is a straw man, and what’s ironic is that Matt Bissonette’s next book proves it so. Nobody said he couldn’t write his story. Only that it had to be reviewed. Generals, Admirals, and everyone else at that level do two things when they write a book.

  1. They write about the hard life they had getting to their level or about the overarching strategic decision-making in their actions. They don’t write about tactics, techniques, and procedures. They talk about vague meetings in the oval office, or a deer hunt they were on as a child.
  2. They get their books VETTED in accordance with the law.

Comparing their books to No Easy Day is a false analogy that plays on their rank to give Matt breathing room for relief from criminal prosecution. I mean, how is it possible to beat up the enlisted man when these generals get away with it? It’s a great legal tactic, and plays well with the population, but the two situations are not comparable. Hypocritically, when asked this very thing by the 60 Minutes interviewer, specifically whether it was right for the lowly enlisted man to write a book when the generals do so, his answer is “Absolutely”, ignoring the nuances of the process the generals went through.

But he’s got another book that just came out. That one is EXACTLY like the very generals he chastises. It’s his “How I became a SEAL” book, without specific mission information, and lo and behold, he submitted it for review. Just like the generals. And amazingly, the evil department of defense said he could publish it. Anyone saying it’s unfair for generals and admirals to publish books while others are attacked for doing so have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s apples and oranges. Submit the book, get it reviewed, then publish it. Just like Matt Bissonette. Well, like Matt Bissonette’s second book, anyway.

3.  Everything on the mission was already given up. There have been magazine articles, books and movies about the mission. He didn’t say anything that hasn’t already been said.

Just because someone writes something doesn’t make it true. I’ve actually talked about this in another blog when people spout absolute fantasy about classified organizations. Yes, there has been a lot of information written about the Bin Laden raid, but nobody knew if it was accurate or not. They assumed, but didn’t know. There’s only one way to know, and that’s when the man on the ground says so.

As an example, Mark Bowden’s book appears to be, by all accounts, pretty accurate (full disclosure, I have no idea. I wasn’t there). But, right after the actual mission, before Bowden’s book, a man named Chuck Pfarrer, a former member of SEAL Team 6 with “inside sources”, came out with a book called Target Geronimo, and it’s been pretty much hammered as complete hogwash.

Just because it’s published doesn’t mean it’s accurate. And this is the cutline. Yeah, an unnamed “official” can be quoted in an article, and “sources close to the mission” can be used, but at the end of the day, it’s just speculation. When Matt Bissonette or Rob O’neill talks, it’s confirmed. Using the fact that unnamed sources gave up accurate information first as an excuse to confirm that very same information is still giving up classified. For every unnamed source that talks accurately, there’s another one spouting crap (IE – read Seymour Hersh). When men who’ve signed a non-disclosure statement talk, they confirm or deny all the stories. In the news world, someone becomes the winner, and someone becomes the loser. Unfortunately, everyone becomes the loser in the real world.

At the end of the day, all of this appears to be just he said, she said. I mean, does it really matter? Yes, it does. We don’t keep secrets because we want to. We don’t do it so we can sit in the back of a party and secretly feel superior that we know something you don’t. We do it because it protects lives.

Matt Bissonette described the launch point for the operation in Afghanistan. An innocuous base, seemingly unclassified, he felt it wouldn’t cause any harm to do so – which is a little naïve considering he’d just killed the head of al Qaida. After the book came out, that base was attacked, and an American was KIA. On 60 Minutes, he was questioned about this, as a SEAL master chief said he was responsible. His answer was that it was a stretch to say a mortar attack was a result of his book. I know he must do this in order to sleep at night, but the answer is a little too pat.

Unfortunately, I have intimate knowledge of this attack. It wasn’t a mortar. It was a synchronized suicide assault against the same classified compound Bissonette launched from. Something that had never occurred at that base. His book was released in September of 2012. The attack was in December of 2012. About enough time to study the book, determine what the enemy could effect with their limited reach, then utilize the very indigenous networks he disparages to plan an assault where the “top secret” base was located within the perimeter.

The person who was killed wasn’t a random individual walking down the street. He was Taz, a close personal friend and the man I dedicated The Widow’s Strike to. He died repelling the attack. I can’t prove that Bissonette’s book had anything to do with his death, because every terrorist who attacked was killed, but there’s one sure way to prove it didn’t.

Don’t write the damn book.


Update, 15 NOV

A reader commented below that not all generals do the correct thing, and brought up the case of LTG Boykin, a retired SOF commander.  He is absolutely correct, and Boykin was actually in the original blog.  I had a ton of other stuff in as well, and it was becoming too long, so I cut his example, along with other information.  In hindsight, that was a poor decision, because a) it looks like I’m hiding officer/Army wrongdoing at the expense of the enlisted/Navy, and b) his book is a prime example of the brick-building analogy I discussed at the beginning of the blog, whereby the enemy can glean information.  For the record, he was, in fact investigated, and was found to be criminally negligent of disclosing classified information.  He was not formally charged, however.  He was only given a reprimand – a scathing reprimand, but a reprimand nonetheless.  In the end, two wrongs don’t make a right.

By |2014-11-14T21:27:47+00:00November 14th, 2014|Blog|37 Comments

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  1. Don Lubecki November 14, 2014 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Excellent commentary. Totally enjoy your books please keep writing them.

  2. Lawrence Cooper November 14, 2014 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    Very much on point.
    Clear, concise, and informed ethical and professionally.
    And if I ever run across you in the vicinity of the Pentagon, I am going to buy you a very alcoholic beverage.
    If you let me.

  3. Bob Phippen November 15, 2014 at 12:39 am - Reply

    Thanks Brad, well expressed and yes, it was
    worth waiting to hear your opinion. Thanks for
    putting it out there.

  4. Mark Erwin November 15, 2014 at 7:43 am - Reply

    Brad, Erwin here. Great comments! One exception to point out. Boykin was a General who did not do as you suggest when he failed to get his book reviewed which had damaging photos that may have inflamed the very enemy we were currently fighting and told stories that were not his to tell.

  5. Darren Purcell November 15, 2014 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Thank you Brad. I feel awful now because I bought Matt’s No Easy Day when it came out. Thought it had gone through the process. Won’t be buying the new one. This sickens me and I am sorry you lost a friend, perhaps, because of it. Every one could take a page from your playbook. Love Pike and while only on book three, the Princess Bride references in the last one were great! Love your Author’s Notes as well. Thank you for your thoughtshereand your service

  6. Dave Jenkins November 15, 2014 at 8:58 am - Reply

    Brad, as always well stated and to the point.

  7. ~kap November 15, 2014 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Well said, Brad.

  8. P.B. Nicholls November 15, 2014 at 11:43 am - Reply

    Thank you for your article, Brad. Your integrity is beyond reproach and I appreciate what you have said. I refuse to buy Bissonette’s book for the very reasons you have articulated. He will not profit by me.

    Respectfully, Sir,

    Brian “PB” Nicholls

  9. Eduardo Tinoco November 15, 2014 at 11:45 am - Reply

    It’s been a long time since I’ve lurked in these pages. I have actually now just booked marked it on my laptop, so I can keep up with your insights on current events and publications.

    Anyways, hope you are well and I appreciate the well thought out and thoroughly detailed post.

    Looking forward to more reading.


  10. Skip Glasgow November 15, 2014 at 11:46 am - Reply

    For me, the issue here is more basic. If I say I won’t do something and give my solemn oath, then I don’t do it. This man understood the reasons why this was necessary when he joined the SEALS. So he gave his word and then he broke it. Whatever he claims, there is no plausible justification for what he’s done. He is dishonorable and beneath contempt. However, I am told he is now on the ‘speakers tour.’ Really?

    I am acquainted with Gene Kranz, who was Flight Director on Apollo 13. He’s been on the speakers tour for several years. I bet Gene’s just thrilled to have this guy on there with him.

    Is there a list of organizations that have hired O’Neill to address their employees? I’d really like to know who is willing to pay this individual to speak and how they justify that. Perhaps he offers a “motivational” message.

  11. HKGuns November 15, 2014 at 11:56 am - Reply


    Great write-up, you should seriously consider running for President.

    This Country won’t survive 4+ years of Hillary, or the TBD milk toast alternative, after the current administration is finished.

    Take good care of Charleston, it is a great City.

  12. Matthew C. Billips November 16, 2014 at 2:13 am - Reply

    I’m a plaintiff’s civil rights lawyer (including First Amendment cases) and I agree with you 100%. Yes, the review process can be abused to conceal the merely embarrassing, but the risk that unfettered revelations poses to those whose lives are at stake outweighs that danger.

    Full disclosure: I am also a friend of a member of your family.

  13. Matthew C. Billips November 16, 2014 at 2:13 am - Reply

    Ack. Pose. Edit!

  14. Mike W. November 16, 2014 at 6:09 am - Reply

    As much as I enjoy the feeling that I’ve been read on to all kinds of classified through your books,and I’ve read them all, I honestly don’t need to know what I don’t need to know.

  15. RH November 16, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Re point 2 I say the seniors fight tooth and nail to disclose a lot of classified info and they have the clout to get their way. They need to set an example for the Bissinettes of this world and they do not.

    • Brad Taylor November 16, 2014 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      Actually, no, they don’t. Read about Leon Panetta’s struggles with the review, along with GEN McChyrstal. Both have said the review process was brutal – and they didn’t agree with some of the things that were redacted, but redacted they were. Hank Crumpton, a long time clandestine officer in the CIA and author of “The Art of Intelligence” said the same thing. In some cases I’ll agree that they MIGHT set a better example by not writing a book in the first place – depending on what’s inside the covers – but disagree that their rank and/or clout allowed them to flaunt the review process. That’s simply not true. As for writing at all, I think historical perspective is healthy and needed. Saying nobody should write a book is not what I was trying to imply. Like Matt, I, too, grew up reading memoirs and historical works on Vietnam. My sole issue is writing or saying something that could have a detrimental impact. Period.

  16. Raylin November 18, 2014 at 7:57 am - Reply

    Didn’t you just do what you critiqued, when you wrote: “I have intimate knowledge of this attack. It wasn’t a mortar. It was a synchronized suicide assault against the same classified compound Bissonette launched from. ”

    Afterall, you yourself said you don’t know what you don’t know is important.

    • Brad Taylor November 18, 2014 at 9:20 am - Reply

      Uhhh….no. By intimate I mean I learned what happened because my friend died in the attack. Most of America will believe the “mortar attack” story because they don’t care to learn. It has nothing to do with classified information. You, too, could have intimate knowledge. Google it. There is an enormous difference between classified information that could be used for harm and plain old facts after an event occurs. Let’s use some common sense. I’m not saying nobody should ever write a book or do an interview. Just that they need to ensure they don’t disclose information that could be harmful. For instance – and this is false, I’m just making up a scenario for explanatory purposes – it would be okay to report the attack and the casualties, but, say an attack on a base succeeded in penetrating the perimeter because of a weakness that was unknown at the time. In that case, it would NOT be okay to say, “They penetrated the base using a software exploit on our outer gate. This same lock is used on all of our bases, and it’s going to take us up to six months to fix.”

  17. Chris Pollock November 18, 2014 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Morning Brad, love your books! When I was in ASA (Army Security Agency) way, way, back when, we were constantly signing NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements). At one duty station I was at even our wives were all called together and given a rather threatening speech on saying anything about what their husbands did at work. Weren’t they under the same restrictions? I would think that they had to sign them and that they were effective for so many years.

    Just my thoughts

  18. Bob Mayer November 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Been meaning to blog about this also– but you’ve nailed it. When I was in SF, it was simply accepted that you don’t talk, you don’t have your picture taken; we didn’t need an official policy. The term Quiet Professional should mean something.

    I just did a booksigning in San Diego where there were several SEALS there, including some who were in that movie. The attitude there seems much different. It’s rather disappointing, never mind dangerous.

  19. John Grafton November 18, 2014 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    What part of “I promise” do these fellows not understand? Veterans understand, don’t we, that some things in the military world are not for public record. I’m disappointed that Special Ops members are openly breaking their “sacred code.”

  20. Pave Low John November 19, 2014 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Thanks for a great post, definitely required reading for anyone in SOF these days. The problem goes even deeper than the individuals writing books after they retire or separate. I can remember reading Sean Naylor’s book on Operation Anaconda and being amazed at the amount of classified information that was scattered throughout the pages. I later heard that there were some fairly intense investigations at Ft Bragg and MacDill to try and find out who had talked to Naylor off the record, but I have no idea if the caught the person (or persons) that did it.

    To put it bluntly, no one cares a damn about the future damage their lack of personal ethics might cause. They are solely focused on either grinding an axe, becoming famous or making a pile of money. An alarming number of SOF and other personnel talk to journalists now (or write their own books, like O’Neil) and justify it with the “everyone’s doing it” excuse that didn’t work when they were 10 years old and shouldn’t work now. So far (knock on wood), no one from my community has written anything or leaked anything that was classified, but the way things are shaping up, it’s probably only a matter of time….

  21. Jim Edow December 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    I just finished reading One Rough Man. Excellent book, I can’t wait to start on the next.

    You make some good points about not writing books and I respect your opinion on the subject. I can see the struggle between the right to tell your story and free speech vs. the need to keep top secret information secure and I agree that national secrets need to remain classified. That being said, I could build an argument that anything a person says gives up data in some vague way or another. These sorts of books need to be vetted by the government agency that does that, but at the same time the agency in charge of vetting books needs to be fair and not just give a big hell no to everyone except the Generals who have political influence.

    • Brad Taylor December 1, 2014 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      Agree in principal, but the blog itself refutes what you are saying: Bissonette’s second book was submitted for review, and given clearance for publication. He did not get a big “hell no”. The hell no is based on the information, not the rank. Of course, not submitting the book is a sure way to prevent the “hell no”, but you’ll then go through what he’s going through for his first book.

  22. zippy December 4, 2014 at 2:07 am - Reply

    I have enjoyed the blog and it is an issue that anybody who has ever signed an NDA has to have thought about at one time after reading one of your books, as to where/how did you concoct some or where did the idea or some of the conflicts come from you write of. When it gets to the NonDisclosures… there is one individual who makes it so simple, it isn’t argueable.
    ‘The Donalds’ (Rumsfeld) way of describing the situation as it stood- “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know”.
    Nothing in this business has been learned without the cost of something to somebody and to make the same mistake is totally at odds with what you are taught in training- learn from your mistakes!
    I am sorry about your loss, and sorrier that it could have been prevented for the lack of someone putting their greed over their sense of honor or esprit de corps…F F F

  23. FireStick December 17, 2014 at 12:09 am - Reply

    Hey there Brad, just found your blog and perfect timing as I completed the 2 night show viewing of Rob’s story killing UBL on Fox News. The story and timeline was very smooth until his presentation, private tour, and meeting with the 9-11 victims families. I lost all ability to filter the “what is this guys motive” right when the statement was made that it was filmed for the just in case we want to air it in the future. What the What?
    My sister was murdered several years ago and I got the opp to look the turd in his eyes just before the Texas judge pronounced a guilty sentence. That said, have you spoken to Matt about this loose lips sinking your friend Taz’s ship? I sincerely hope you get the chance to express your sincere appreciation for his statements that led to Taz’s death. I too apologize to you and Taz’s family here and now as I bought the book as well thinking this was an honorable man in the mold of Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle. Thank you for your Service and some great reads. Enjoying each and every one of Nephilim’s missions.

  24. Jim Harris December 19, 2014 at 2:15 am - Reply

    Hi, Brad,
    I just started reading your first book. I think it is terrific. When I finish, I will post reviews on three websites.
    I also just found your blog. I get very frustrated when more Liberal friends say we have
    a right to know. No we do not if it affects national security. Thanks for saying so eloquently.
    I too feel your loss of your friend Taz.

    Jim Harris

  25. Tom Madden December 30, 2014 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    First, I have enjoyed all of your books.
    I loved this Blog post because it addressed the importance of keeping tactics, names, team affiliation as will as intelligence out of the main stream. Once it’s out there is is out there for good and you can bet our enemy’s love reading it too. I respect all of our military and have a deep respect for SF. The demand on personal time, the stress and strain on the body and mind, training and sacerfice alone take a toll.
    But they carry a even heavier burden, Honor. To have Honor you must respect your commitments; things you swore to never disclose. In this case this was not done. We may not know if any damage has been done or not yet. I hope and pray it hasn’t.


  26. Stacey Worth January 26, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    I am a stay-at-home-mom and was formerly a kindergarten teacher. Reading is one of my all time favorite things to do. My genre choices are usually mystery, romance, or humor. For example, I love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books. Fun fluff. I purchased the first Pike Logan book because it was one of the daily specials on my Nook. I LOVED it. I have since bought and read all of the Pike books and look forward to when the next will be released. I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy them, considering I probably don’t fall into your normal target audience.
    Thank you for your service and your obvious honor and integrity.

  27. Harrisom February 4, 2015 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    Commentary on point!

  28. Jerry Maenner February 18, 2015 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    First I want to say that I am so pleased to have found your books. I thought that when Vince Flynn died I would never find another author of his caliber. You have proven me wrong and I’m enjoying every minute of it..

    I was in the Air Force, in a security sensitive career field, and remember the training films that emphasized how classified information got leaked. As you said, it was often through the brick by brick approach using published information gathered from people trying to embellish their own importance or through their ignorance that what they were divulging was a piece of a bigger picture. Freedom of speech can definitely be a two edged sword when wielded by the ignorant. Need to know is the only way to operate.

  29. Robert Cummins March 9, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    So how does one go about getting a book “vetted?” I’ve written a book and am now editing it. A friend recommended getting the book “vetted”, but I have no idea how to initiate the process.

    • Brad Taylor March 10, 2015 at 11:09 am - Reply

      That all depends on what you wrote and who you are. I can’t tell you what to do based on the limited information in this comment. The Intelligence Community has a different review process from the Department of Defense. Google “(XXXXX) publication review process”, putting in your component where the X’s are.

  30. Ray Diaz December 1, 2015 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Hi Brad, Ray here. Am currently listening to “The Insider Threat” on recorded book . Thanks for continuing to write. It makes my bi-weekly treks from Virginia Beach to Ft. Bragg much more enjoyable. I’m also happy to have found a replacement to the Mitch Rapp series. I hope you and yours are doing well and if ever in the VB area hit me up.

  31. Larry Loftis February 10, 2016 at 2:10 am - Reply

    Fabulous article, Brad. Exactly what I had been thinking, but without any details or sources. And you surely confirm that Delta Force members are the “quiet professionals.” Loved every word of what you wrote.

    All of this reminds me how seriously the British spies, commandos, and MI5/MI6 agents of WWII took their oath of secrecy under the Official Secrets Act. I have a book coming out about the greatest Allied spy/double agent ever (Dusko Popov) in June and I’ve read thousands of pages of recently declassified material about him and his missions and you know what is amazing? Until his operations were declassified, he told NO ONE. His own wife and children knew nothing of what he did in the war … for THIRTY YEARS!

    He was the key counter-intelligence agent for D-Day … he warned the FBI about Pearl Harbor in August 1941 … he was Ian Fleming’s inspiration for James Bond … and yet after the war he told not a soul!

    That, Colonel, is what a vow of secrecy means .. and it’s clear to me that you’ve honored that vow in your own career and post-military life. May your tribe increase. 🙂

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