A screenshot from "Medal of Honor: Warfighter" by Electronic Arts. ()
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SAN DIEGO — The Navy punished seven East Coast-based Navy SEALs on Wednesday for revealing classified information, an official confirmed — punishment reportedly linked to paid work they did for a video game maker.
An investigation found the SEALs were derelict in their duties by disclosing classified material and unauthorized use of official command gear, Cmdr. David McKinney, a Naval Special Warfare Command spokesman in Coronado, Calif., said Thursday.
The seven SEALs were given nonjudicial punishment and each "received punitive letters of reprimand and forfeiture of half-month's pay for two months," McKinney said. Their names and unit were not released, but he described them generally as chief petty officers on active duty and assigned to an East Coast naval special warfare unit.
CBS News first reported the punishment, which it said came after the SEALs, one a member of the SEAL Team 6 mission that killed Osama bin Laden, spent two days over the summer working as paid consultants to Electronic Arts, the video game company that developed "Medal of Honor: Warfighter." The Redwood City, Calif.-based software company last month released the game, which it markets on its website as "written by active U.S. Tier 1 Operators while deployed overseas."
McKinney said the SEALs who were punished "did not seek permission" from their command for other paid work off duty.
Naval Special Warfare Command "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 Uniform Code of Military Justice," officials said in a statement. "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 nonjudicial punishment decisions made today send a clear message throughout our force that we are and will be held to a higher standard of accountability."