Shawn Ryan is a retired Navy SEAL, former CIA contractor, and podcaster. Now, he can count thorn in the Canadian military’s side among his many accolades after releasing footage of the longest-distance sniper shot in history.
In a Feb. 6 episode of his eponymous podcast, Ryan interviewed Dallas Alexander, a former sniper with the elite Joint Task Force Two (JTF2) special operations unit who was in possession of footage showing an unnamed sniper taking out an Islamic State group member at 3,540 meters (2.2 miles) away with a McMillan Tac-50 anti-material rifle in 2017.
The footage, which showed the .50 cal round traveling through the air for nearly 10 seconds before striking the ISIS terrorist as he exited a building to a car, was apparently not authorized for release and immediately captured the attention of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, which sent a cease-and-desist letter to Ryan demanding he take down the video.
Ryan published the letter to Twitter on Tuesday after pulling Alexander’s episode, stating that while he didn’t want to inadvertently publish classified material that would jeopardize the safety of allied troops in harm’s way, he believed the cease-and-desist “is an attempt to silence Dallas from explaining that he left command for refusing the covid vaccine.”
Indeed, during the episode, Shawn had pressed Alexander on why he left JTF2 after fourteen years with the unit, prompting the latter to sound off about “wokeness” and personal freedom with regard to the Canadian Armed Forces’ mandatory COVID-19 vaccine regimen.
“It should be up to the individual to make that assessment — your own fucking health — especially fucking injecting something in your body,” Alexander said. “It’s like the ultimate overstep on someone’s freedom, like, ‘You must inject this.’”
“I want to be perfectly clear, I am not an ANTI-VAX individual. I believe in freedom of choice and in freedom of speech,” Ryan wrote on Twitter. “This is why I cut anything that could have possibly been considered “classified” from part 2 of the episode.”
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There’s some ambiguity remaining over whether the CAF knew Alexander was going to release the footage. Alexander himself posted a video to Instagram on Monday stating that he had “consulted with many people … to gather information on what I should say and what I shouldn’t say” with regards to the long-distance sniper kill on Ryan’s show.
“I told them I would vet every single post, blur something, change the word,” Alexander subsequently told CTV News on Friday. “I was told that a public affairs officer would reach out to me — but no one did.”
It’s unclear what consequences will emerge for Ryan and Alexander, although the former, as a U.S. citizen, is likely not subject to Canadian laws regarding the dissemination of restricted information, per CTV News.
Still, Alexander told CTV News that the Canadian Armed Forces was likely using the video as a pretext to investigate him for his podcast comments regarding his departure from military service.
“In all aspects of censorship, the common theme is ‘this is dangerous information to someone, therefore we need to censor it,’” Alexander said in his Monday statement. “I’m assuming that will be the approach taken. We’ve seen a lot of that over the last few years. So that wouldn’t surprise me.”
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