WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) — Seven U.S. Navy SEALs have been reprimanded for giving up classified information connected to their work so a video game could seem more realistic, according to a Navy official.
The seven were charged with the unauthorized showing of their official combat gear and dereliction of duty for disclosing classified material, according to the official, who is familiar with the investigation.
An investigation found the seven to have worked as paid consultants for two days with the video game company Electronic Arts, the official said.
The work, done around the late spring and early summer, was unauthorized by their commanders and against military regulations according to the official.
All seven are active duty members of SEAL Team 6, considered the most elite of the Navy SEAL community. CBS News, which first reported this story, says at least one of the members was on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year.
The seven, all senior enlisted sailors, received their punishment Thursday at their base in Virginia. All seven were given a letter of reprimand and their pay taken for two months. The move essentially prevents their chances for promotion and ends their military careers.
Four other SEALs, who have since transferred to West Coast SEAL teams, are still under investigation, according to the official.
The seven members were consulting with Electronic Arts on the game “Medal of Honor: Warfighter,” according to the official. The game touts that it is developed with the help of former and active duty commandos.
“Naval Special Warfare (NSW) takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and conducts investigations to determine the facts. We likewise take seriously the Non-Disclosure Agreements signed by Sailors and adherence to the articles of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice,” said Rear Adm. Garry Bonelli, deputy commander of the Naval Special Warfare Center in a statement to Security Clearance.
“We do not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do as sailors in the United States Navy. The non-judicial punishment decisions made today send a clear message throughout our Force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability.”
The disclosure of the extra curricular activities of the SEALs comes on the heels of a recently retired SEAL who was on the bin Laden raid and wrote a book about the operation.
The publication of the book released a firestorm of complaints toward the author by the Pentagon, which said the book revealed secret information about how the SEALs operate. Pentagon officials threatened the author with legal action if the book was published.
To date, there has been no further action toward the author, who wrote the book under the name Mark Bissonette.
By Mike Mount, CNN Senior National Security Producer
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