by Mary Margret Daughtridge.
The other day, out making an errand run, on the spur of the moment I decided to detour to a friend’s house.
I paid little attention when the shiny lime green car behind me made the same turns I did, until it turned into the driveway of my friend’s next door neighbor, just as I pulled into her drive. A man got out and walked toward me flashing a badge.
That’s the beginning of the story I was going to introduce this blog with. Sorry, I can’t tell you more. I realized even if I disguised as many details as I could, anyone who knew just a few public facts about me would be able to interpolate what the real story was. And you never know, you just never know who will read a blog.
So I dumped the whole idea.
But thinking about how easily any disguise of a true story could unravel made me appreciate the extreme secrecy under which SEALs operate. Fundamentally, everything about everything they do is secret.
Which is why I was surprised to hear on national media that SEALs specifically rather than “a Special Operations team” were responsible for ending bin Laden’s career.
I was surprised because the media proceeded to do exactly what they do—which is dig for more facts.
“When are we going to see pictures of these men?”
Never. You’d might as well sign their death certificates. The photos would go viral in under three minutes and terrorist organizations would be using them for target practice. If you had a face you were looking for, it wouldn’t be all that hard to learn where an off-duty SEAL might be.
“When will their names be released?”
Never. They have families, children. They could become targets too.
SEALs succeed by appearing where nobody expects them to be and doing what no one knows they can do. I’ve become fairly skillful at reading between the lines of news reports. Imagine what someone with real intelligence at their disposal could do.
I know how much can be put together from seemingly unrelated facts. Tom Clancy author of Hunt for Red October came this close to being accused of breeching national security for his mix of great research and spot on conjecture.
SEALed Forever, my May release, is the result of odds and ends I’ve picked up. An opinion expressed here, facts about the phenomenal increase of more of less off –the-books intelligence gathering, mentions of SEALs being employed in various capacities—it all adds up.
At some point it jelled into a story. Every word is fiction. But then, being a writer chased by my own imagination, I wonder , “What if all that stuff I made up—what if it’s true?”
What if some morning the men in black are on my doorstep wanting to know how I learned about the baby who was smuggled into the country aboard a spy plane?