Controversial Navy SEAL Worked On New Medal Of Honor Game Without Permission

One of the Navy SEALS who consulted on EA's upcoming Medal of Honor: Warfighter may have done so with getting proper military permission to do so, according to the Los Angeles Times. This same person, identified by the newspaper as Matt Bissonnette, is also the author of No Easy Day, the controversial book that details the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

Bissonnette wrote No Easy Day under the pen name Mark Owen and came under fire for not getting the proper clearance from the Department of Defense before the book was published. It appears that EA didn't get the same kind of clearance for this year's Medal of Honor game either:

Military personnel are required to receive authorization to work on such projects to prevent classified information on military tactics, strategies and protocols being made public, officials said.

No such requests were made for the "Warfighter" game, according to defence Department spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart and Col. Tim Nye, a spokesman for the U.S. Special Operations Command that oversees the Navy SEALs.

The L.A. Times quotes EA spokesperson Jeff Brown as saying:

"The Department of defence has never asked to vet the games or the contribution of veterans and active service members."

Later in the piece, Brown confirms that Bissonnette/Owen worked on Warfighter through an intermediary company and says that EA didn't directly pay him for his work on the game. This latest development is the latest in a line of troubles that have trailed the Medal of Honor games.

If you've played today's crop of military shooters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 or Battlefield 3, you know that developers and publishers go to great lengths to make their games feel as accurate as possible. The guns look and reload the way they're supposed to and vehicle suspensions bounce and rumble as they would in the field. That's all well and good for gear and weapons, especially since specifications for some of these elements are sometimes publically available.

But engagement tactics are more rarefied information and any unsupervised exposure of them is viewed as potentially dangerous. The reasoning is that, without proper military vetting, the next Medal of Honor game could be giving up crucial secrets as to how American military forces respond to terrorist threats.

The L.A. Times piece ends by recounting defence Secretary Leon Pannetta's angry condemnation of No Easy Day earlier this month. You have to wonder if that kind of scolding -- and its associated legal repercussions -- might be headed in EA's direction before too long.

‘Medal of honour Warfighter' enters dangerous territory [Los Angeles Times]


Comments

    So, he's a mercenary that's still in the military. Oh, to have your cake and eat it.

      I thought that was called 'Working for blackwater' or whatever they're called now?

      Oh, and Dude - "mercenary" is not the preferred nomenclature. "Private security contractor", please.

        He's a man on the books for the military still.

        He's also been making money on the side by selling his skills to the highest bidder; Book deal, EA deal.

        He's working for himself and his government at the same time. I wonder what his fellow SEALS make of him.

          To clarify, he is not working for any private security firm.

          Unless he says otherwise, his aim from all of these media deals is purely money, while in itself not to be discouraged, falls quite squarely under the definition of mercenary.

            Uh....only if EA asks him to kill someone. Which could happen, depending on how their lawsuit with Zynga goes...

          *sigh*

          A perfectly good Big Lebowski reference gone to waste...

    I thought almost all of the operatives who did the Osama Bin Laden mission died a month later when their helicopter was shot down..? So this guy wasn't one of those guys?

      No that was some BS story and different guys who were just in the same platoon (or whatever they call them).

    "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3...developers and publishers go to great lengths to make their games feel as accurate as possible."

    Yeah right.

      +1

      I think Bohemia Interactive is the only developer who goes to great lengths to make their games as accurate as possible, mostly because they sell their games (VBS) to military forces all around the world.

        BI was founded by several former soldiers from the Czech Army, which is why they are sticklers for accuracy, and why various militairies, including Australia use the VBS system for training.

        Operation Flashpoint is still an outstanding game, if dated by it's graphics and obtusely clunky controls.

    Much as I like to bash EA, it's not actually their responsibility to get the clearance, it is the soldiers'.
    That is made very clear when you join up, and many times thereafter during your career, especially in Special Forces, who the media latch onto like hookfish.
    Bissonnette would have had no doubt in his mind that he was contravening both military law, and to a much lesser extent, OpSec when he decided to freelance for EA.

    As much as civilians love lapping up all things military, the Armed Forces take a fairly dim view when someone outside of their PR channel starts discussing how we work, not least because the military and mainstream media have not had that cosy a relationship in the past.

    There is no doubt that Mr Bissonnettes professionalism would have stopped him from discussing anything particularly sensitive, but it would have rankled the brass, and to some extent, his team mates.
    But here's why it will piss off the military - a lot of techniques that are pioneered in Special Forces, flow on down to the combat units as well, so whilst it wouldn't be giving away any secrets, it is broadcasting techniques and tactics that will probably be utilised by less specialised troops.

    He's certainly got some troubled water ahead of him, that's for sure.

    "Later in the piece, Brown confirms that Bissonnette/Owen worked on Warfighter through an intermediary company and says that EA didn’t directly pay him for his work on the game."
    No doubt this intermediary company had full disclosure with EA, but still; QUICK COVER OUR ARSES WE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING!

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