U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the US Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan will receive an upgrade in security over concerns that the commandos and their families may be subject to threats by terrorists.
The sensational murder of bin Laden has sparked an immense wave of media attention upon the US Special Forces team, as well as dozens of calls for retaliation by groups sympathetic to al-Qaeda.
When I met with the [SEALs] team last Thursday, they expressed a concern about that, and particularly with respect to their families, Gates told Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Gates could not disclose details about the heightened security operations, but assured that we are looking at what measures can be taken to pump up the security.
The SEAL team is reportedly based in Dam Neck, Virginia, but for obvious security reasons, their identities have not been publicized.
It is believed that about 20 SEALs participated in the attack on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Gates confirmed that threats against US forces has sharply increased since the death of bin Laden.
I think there has been a consistent and effective effort to protect the identities of those who participated in the raid. I think that has to continue, said Gates.
The Defense Secretary also lightly addressed the topic of raid details getting leaked to the press.
Frankly, a week ago Sunday, in the [White House] situation room, we all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden, he said.
That all fell apart on Monday, the next day.