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.

(AP Photo/Dutton, File)
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.

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.

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.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Navy SEAL, who wrote book about the bin Laden raid, loses $4.5 million
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2014/1106/Navy-SEAL-who-wrote-book-about-the-bin-Laden-raid-loses-4.5-million
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe