An in-depth report published Sunday in the New York Times takes on the issue of one of the most secretive black ops outfits in the world, the SEAL Team 6. The special forces team responsible for assassinating Osama Bin Laden has reportedly had its focus shifted in the last decade from high-profile espionage to a “global manhunting machine”, demonstrating a paradigm shift in the manner the United States wage war nowadays.
The newspaper received details about the SEAL Team 6 from sources who allegedly were part of the outfit at some points. Apparently, the SEAL Team 6 used to initially be involved in classic espionage, holding spying networks throughout the world and infiltrating hot spots under the guise of civilians to offer on-the-ground information about high-value targets.
However, the team’s purpose started to shift after the War on Terror began as it adopted a more direct approach – planning and executing assassinations and covert missions on high profile targets by the minute. To this end, Team 6 operatives were included as part of special CIA initiative called the Omega Program, which gave them a lot more liberty in their manners of approach and rules of engagement than before.
According to the New York Times’ sources, this also translated to a more ruthless approach to operations, indiscriminately eliminating any targets it could see as threat – even civilians, per some reports. A 2009 raid in which Team 6 collaborated with Afghan military forces might have even provoked a rise in tension between Afghan and NATO forces due to the team reportedly taking the liberty of eliminating non-hostile combatants.
Despite this, such episodes are rarely investigated or acknowledged due to the extreme secrecy which surrounds the unit – the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, despite overseeing Team 6 missions, apparently have no jurisdiction in investigating them, while even the Congress mostly shuns from openly questioning the exploits of the secretive outfit.
The group has no problem in being funded though, with it apparently receiving a surge right after 9/11, now bolstering over 300 ground assault troops and more than 1,500 supporting operatives. This shift in size though also meant that unit was deployed for a larger array of operations – not only against high profile Al-Qaeda leaders but also against lesser targets. Some might wonder if this shift from quality and elitism to quantity and efficiency may have changed Team 6 as a concept altogether – adapting it to a world where the U.S. just can’t afford to deploy large number of troops wherever it wants with scrutiny anymore and doing what many would call to be the “dirty work”.
Image Source: Conspiracy Club