Susan Stamper Brown

During World War II, posters displaying the slogan "Loose lips might sink ships" reminded service members and civilians alike to avoid indiscreet discussions about secure information that could be exploited by the enemy and used against America during wartime. People understood that freedom of speech did not give them license to spill their guts because national security was vital to victory and victory was paramount to America's survival.

But that was then. Today, we have an administration that embraces a "Loose Lips For Political Expediency" philosophy. (No, I'm not talking about Vice President Biden.) Case in point: A headline I read the other day titled "SEALs becoming [the] face of Obama's defense strategy." Say, what?

Until this administration drew them to the light (like a bug zapper), SEAL Team Six was, for all intents and purposes, a figment of our imaginations -- the stuff little (and big) boys dream about, and a terrorist's biggest nightmare. This group of "quiet professionals" is quite content doing their job backstage without a spotlight and would prefer to keep it that way. Nonetheless, they were mentioned yet again in the State of the Union address. Obama claimed the mission was successful " because every member of that unit trusted each other" knowing someone was "watching your back."

Obama was partially correct, but someone with a bit more (38 years) experience has another take as to why the operation was successful. Admiral Eric Olson, former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command and former Navy SEAL, spoke to a group at Aspen Institute last summer. Olson explained the raid was successful "because nobody talked about it."

Oh the shock and awe one must experience after accomplishing such an extraordinary feat only to discover your commander-in-chief cannot "watch your back" because he won't keep his lips zipped. (To the unaware: unzipped lips are worse than unzipped pants. Ask Bill Clinton.)

In the address, Obama accurately quantified getting bin Laden was apolitical and said everyone in the Situation Room was unified in purpose. He failed to mention the "Loose Lips" pact agreed upon by those in the room. (I guess he left it out because it didn't last long.) Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said everyone agreed to "not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden." Gates said it "all fell apart on Monday, the next day."

Susan Stamper Brown

Susan Stamper Brown's weekly column is nationally syndicated. She can be reached at or via her website at Her Facebook page can be found here.