Navy SEAL, who wrote book about the bin Laden raid, loses $4.5 million

Former Navy SEAL, Matt Bissonnette, filed a lawsuit against his ex-lawyers for advising him it was OK to publish his book about the Osama bin Laden raid. The book  "No Easy Day," prompted a Pentagon inquiry that evolved into a criminal probe by the Justice Department.

  • close
    his book cover image released by Dutton shows "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden," by Mark Owen with Kevin Maurer. A former Navy SEAL's insider account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden contains classified information, the Pentagon said Tuesday, and the admiral who heads the Naval Special Warfare Command said details in the book may provide enemies with dangerous insight into their secretive operations.
    (AP Photo/Dutton, File)
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

A former Navy SEAL who wrote a book describing the raid that killed Osama bin Laden sued his former lawyers Wednesday for malpractice, saying they gave him bad advice that tarnished his reputation, cost him his U.S. security clearance and caused him to surrender much of the book's income to the government.

Using the pseudonym "Mark Owen" that he published the book under, Matt Bissonnette filed the lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan. His 2012 book, "No Easy Day," prompted a Pentagon inquiry that evolved into a criminal probe by the Justice Department.

Bissonnette seeks unspecified compensatory damages, saying his losses will amount to at least $8 million after he agreed to surrender most of the book's proceeds. He said he also will lose consulting jobs, speaking engagements and future employment.

Recommended: 'No Easy Day': Six revelations from the book

Named as defendants were attorney Kevin Podlaski and the Carson Boxberger LLC firm in Indiana. Messages seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Bissonnette said he acted on the advice of his former lawyers when he did not let the Department of Defense and other governmental agencies perform a pre-publication review of his book and when he relied on their advice that they had reviewed the book and removed all classified and sensitive information.

The lawsuit said Bissonnette decided to write the book after realizing that others who did not know the accurate facts were writing about and discussing the daring May 2011 raid by SEAL Team 6 in Pakistan that killed the head of al-Qaida, who was the inspiration behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S.

According to the lawsuit, Bissonnette always had intended to donate a substantial portion of proceeds from the book to charity and was always aware that the disclosure of sensitive information could put other SEALs in danger.

"He was devoted to not disclosing anything he thought could be used by America's enemies. To insure he complied with all his obligations of confidentiality, he sought out legal counsel to advise him," the lawsuit said.

He said he was referred to Podlaski and the Boxberger firm by his literary agent and publisher, both located in New York.

The lawsuit noted that Bissonnette referred to Podlaski and the firm when he said in the book that he hired a former special operations attorney to review the manuscript to ensure no "forbidden topics" were mentioned.

The lawsuit said Bissonnette has agreed as part of a negotiated settlement to forfeit to the U.S. government the majority of all income he has received from the book, along with future income. It said the payment to the government has already exceeded $4.5 million.

According to the lawsuit, Bissonnette will also lose all movie rights and income attributable to those rights, an amount believed to be in excess of $900,000.

The lawsuit said the controversy has tarnished his reputation and "exemplary military record" by the false accusation that he sought to profit from disclosing military secrets and had cost him his security clearance for not submitting the book for review.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK