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SEAL helmet cam video and live feeds

Posted By Uncle Jimbo • [May 13, 2011]

There is a lot of smack talking on teh interwebs about the video feeds from the raid on bin Laden's compound. the question seems to be was there a live feed of the event that got interrupted, or (cue dramatic music) erased by the adminstration that showed the murder of an innocent bin Laden. Let's think about this from a technology, tactics and command and control perspective. We have Leon Panetta saying that there was a 25 minute gap where they didn't have a live feed and were not sure exactly what was happening. This is most likely a feed from a drone or other aircraft that would have shown the entire tactical situation, it is entirely plausible that this could have been lost as it is not the simplest thing in the world to broadcast live video back halfway around the world.

The second bit of silliness seems to think that since the SEALs, or some of them, had helmet cams that we should have hads live feeds from those. That is not technologically or tactically sound. Helmet cams would be worn to capture a historical record so that after action reviews of tactics could be done and so that we would have definitive proof of what actually happened on the ground. They would not be used to broadcast a "SEALs eye view" of the raid for the gawkers back in the WH Situation Room. The live feed from an aircraft requires significant amounts of comm gear that you are not about to strap on to the back of an already overloaded operator fast roping into a heavily-defended compound just so Barry O and the boys can feel like part of the action, or worse provide advice in real time.

Plus can you imagine the command and control nightmare of dozens of blurry, shaky feeds from helmet cams all at once. There is no way to be able to use that information and no way they would even try. If there was room for the SEALs to carry any additional gear it would have been bullets, grenades and flash bangs.

Now there is almost certainly some very interesting footage captured by these helmet cams that was saved on flash drives or some similar electronic media. But the idea that there was some awesome live  HALO game-like reality show that the folks in the WH watched is fantasy. That is not to say that the overhead feeds weren't pretty cool, it just wasn't the eyeball to eyeball look at the very instant bin Laden watched a round enter his eye hole.

Greyhawk, as usual, is all over this and the whole messaging debacle the WH has managed to create.


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