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Tag Archives: Delta Force
Since 9/11 we have seen a revolution in how the entire US defense structure approaches and deals with the issue of terrorism. While the Clinton administration introduced some legislation that would pave the way for “targeted” killings in instances where there was an Executive Finding, the Clinton administration took a limp-wristed approach to intelligence gathering and counter-terrorism for the bulk for the 1990s, including missed opportunities to kill Al Qaeda head honcho, Osama Bin Laden.
The post-9/11 Bush Administration not only swung US Special Operations forces into action, along with Para-Military and Clandestine Services, but also pushed hard for an expansion of these capabilities. Then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld played a large role in expanding the Special Forces Regiment and personally visited the Delta Force compound on Ft. Bragg to get a better understanding of how counter-terrorist forces operate.
Obama stepped into the White House during a transition period where America was withdrawing from Iraq and attempting to hash out an exit strategy for Afghanistan. While timelines were debated, shifted to the right, and a number of phony withdrawals were staged for the media, the US military did pull out of Iraq and is currently working towards doing the same in Afghanistan. No doubt this action has increased support from both the Pentagon and the American public with the near total lose of credibility of US Counter-Insurgency strategy with the so-called “insider” or “green on blue” attack where our Afghan allies suddenly turn on and kill American soldiers.
In the face of this withdrawal, the War on Terror seems to be decreasing in over all troop deployments while simultaneously expanding in all directions with low-visibility operations in places like Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Mali, and Libya. Meanwhile, other long standing operations have continued in places like Colombia which have been largely ignored by a media, and perhaps a Pentagon, that has a fixation on the Middle East.
With SEAL Team Six eliminating Osama Bin Laden during Obama’s watch, the Special Operations community has received unprecedented popularity in the public arena. Reportedly, the Obama Administration has delegated responsibility for counter-terrorist operations to JSOC and his National Security Council, leaving them more or less to their own devices.
At SOFREP we make a concerted effort to get the best and most accurate information about the Special Operations community to our readers. Careful considerations are given to Operational Security as we have no interest in compromising operations or endangering soldier’s lives, so balancing these two can be tricky at times. We also engage in some watchdog operations when we see the media just blatantly getting it wrong.
Recently we called out the Durango Herald for a laughably bad piece about an alleged Delta Force Soldier who could have been outed with just a little fact checking. In the case of The Command there isn’t a need to call anyone out. Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady make a serious effort to dig through the layers of classification that deliberately obscure the highly sensitive activities of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which is the umbrella under which Delta Force and SEAL Team Six exist.
In doing this they turn up some amazing information on previously undisclosed operations and activities, however, they also slip up more than once. This critique is intended as professional, rather than personal criticism but it is needed criticism. Because of OPSEC, not every incorrect statement made in The Command can be corrected. This may sound like a cop out and maybe it is. It is also certain that the following is not a full critique as the author is not aware of every program and mission mentioned in Ambinder and Grady’s work and can’t comment on it one way or the other.
Some of the mistakes in The Command could be corrected with a careful reading of open source materials such as Mark Bowden’s Killing Pablo. Take for instance the statement that Delta Force was “…in Panama where it allegedly pursued Pablo Escobar.” Pablo Escobar was allegedly pursued by Delta Force in Pablo’s home country of Colombia. However, Delta Force did participate in the 1989 invasion of Panama.
Let me take a stab at Inside Delta Force, or rather the USASOC reaction to it. I think I read this book right before I joined the Army in 2002 and like a lot of people was pretty shocked by it. Years go by, I’m in Afghanistan with Ranger battalion. We crossed paths with an OGA dude out there (never mind exactly where) in the hinterlands. He was someone who served in the same unit as Haney during the same time period. His opinion was that the book was accurate aside from some of the stuff Haney wrote about Central America. I don’t know which parts in particular I’m afraid.
A few more years go by, I think it starts around 2006 or 2007 when I start hearing the rumor that Eric Haney was a total shitbag. By now four or five years have passed, a lot of people in the SOF community had read the book or at least heard of it. I started to hear this rumor more and more while I was in Special Forces. Eric Haney was a shitbag.
“That’s what I heard.”
“That is what everyone is saying.”
“What was it that made him a shitbag?”
“I don’t know, but everyone is saying he is a shitbag.”
Later I would hear just slightly more in regards to this RUMINT.
“Everyone who worked with Haney hated him.”
“That’s what people are saying”
Delta is a unit that fires people like it is going out of style so how the hell Haney could exist and be promoted through the ranks of this unit if everyone hated him is beyond me. Why would they promote him and select him for extremely sensitive missions if he was a shitbag and everyone hated him? I’ve since heard this rumor again and again in the SOF community, and even from guys in the regular Infantry and Marines. The narrative is always like what I paraphrase above. No details, no serious information what-so-ever.
I’ve verified much of what Haney said in his book, as much as I could cross reference and research at least, including what he wrote about in Central America. Why in the world would Haney lie about killing a Green Beret in Honduras that he had attended Delta selection with? The basic story checks out as near as I can tell.
I think the rumor that Haney was a shitbag got put out by Delta or JSOC or both in order to discourage anyone from taking Haney’s book seriously and also to discourage others from writing their memoirs. Inside Delta Force reflects extremely poorly on the United States Government up to and including what would be the ultimate betrayal, abandoning American POW’s in South East Asia. I’ve also double checked this through other sources and there was a massive training exercise in the Pacific to mobilize assets under official cover for this operation before it got aborted. This story questions the moral authority of the government and will make any soldier who thinks it over seriously question his service at a minimum. While Haney speaks highly of the Army and of Delta, I think there is an assumption that there may be guilt by association with the CIA and that this information still reflects badly on Delta and SOF in general. I think this is why certain RUMINT was distributed amongst the ranks about Haney and his books.
I have never seen any serious rebuttal of anything Haney wrote. If one exists I would love to read it, please direct me towards this type of information. I have also not seen or heard any serious or credible information regarding Haney’s alleged weak character. If anyone has actual specific details I would like to hear them. If anyone has just the five W’s on this information I will begin to take it much more seriously.
My opinion is that Haney didn’t get thrown under the bus because he made things up, lied, or exaggerated but that he was ostracized from the Special Operations community because he told way to much of the truth than some people are comfortable with.
I had been looking forward to reading Dalton Fury’s first novel, Black Site, since it was first announced because I knew as a former Army Special Operations guy, and a writer of military fiction myself, that someone with Fury’s background was set up for a grand slam. There are a lot of writers in this genre and some of them are very good, but I find that most of them just don’t understand SOF. I’m not just talking about the technical details, but they don’t get the mentality or the attitude. This was where Fury’s book really comes through for readers.