Chris Heben had an unusual year in 2014.
The former Navy SEAL made national headlines in March when he was shot by what he described as three black assailants. Then he was in the news again in September when prosecutors alleged he’d lied to police about the ordeal.
So maybe Heben was letting off some steam in December when he posted a video to YouTube pretending to “choke out” President Barack Obama following an extended rant about American torture policies.
The bizarre video was posted on Dec. 10 and went little noticed until now, racking up just over 2,600 views. It is part of a web series the ex-SEAL hosts called “Real Talk with Chris Heben.” The 15-minute episode, titled “Torture & Obama Choke out,” was filmed on a couch in what appears to be a living room and was co-hosted with Mike Lemire, the general manager of Heben’s consulting firm.
Heben opened the episode by describing the situation at that moment.
“We’re been consuming alcoholic beverages and coffee, and Mike’s got a vapor rolling,” Heben said. “So we’ve got like nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol on board and, so, you know what, this is, this is very real.”
He then got down to the “real talk” and provided commentary on the CIA torture report that was released by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who, he said, “in all her infimite (sic) wisdom has decided to release some bullshit, quasi-journalism article about the CIA torture techniques.”
Heben and Lemire took turns talking about torture and defending the CIA’s tactics. But the conversation eventually shifted to President Obama. Lemire said he had an early Christmas present for Heben — an “interview” with the President himself.
The video then cut to a scene in which Lemire was wearing a costume mask of Obama. The conversation that ensued was sprinkled with patronizing jabs and references to popularized criticisms of the President.
However, when the fake “Obama” debuted a new military salute that included a dance move, Heben leaped across the couch and placed the masked man in a chokehold.
Lemire, from behind the mask, could be heard shouting, “9-1-1, call the SEALS!”
The video cut away again, and Lemire reappeared, sans mask, describing the episode as a dream sequence he’d had about being attacked by a Navy SEAL.
“Let this be a lesson to you,” Heben said, “we can fuck you up even in your sleep.”
Laughing, Heben added: “And we’re experts at shooting ourselves, by the way.”
The comment appeared to be a reference to the allegations that he’d lied about being shot in the abdomen by three black men after an altercation in an Ohio parking lot.
On Thursday, TPM spoke with Vinny Maculaitis, who works at the consulting firm, SEAL Team Consulting. He said Heben couldn’t be located because he was out of state. But Maculaitis dismissed the “Obama choke out” video as the work of a “funny guy” who, along with the staff of the company, has a lot of “fun” at the office.
As for the allegations and pending court case against Heben, Maculaitis said his boss had no comment. He also said Heben would “be vindicated shortly.”
Heben was accused in September of lying to police about being shot. Following the March incident, the former SEAL had said that he’d chased down his attackers in his car before driving to a firehouse and seeking medical assistance for his gunshot wound. Prosecutors later said they had evidence to demonstrate Heben had lied to police.
Watch the video below, via SEAL Team Consulting’s YouTube channel: