Pentagon officials say they are considering legal action against the former Navy SEAL who wrote an insider account of the Osama bin Laden raid, warning that the book reveals “sensitive and classified” information that has never before been in the public realm.
“Tactics, techniques, and procedures – not to mention human life – is at play,” says Pentagon spokesman George Little. “It is the height of irresponsibility not to have this kind of material checked for possible disclosure of classified information.”
Matt Bissonnette, using the pen name Mark Owen, released his controversial book “No Easy Day” this week, and Pentagon officials say they have now had time to review it.
“We have very serious concerns, having read the book,” Mr. Little said.
The Pentagon officials are echoing the concerns of a group of former Special Operations Forces troops in an e-book that they, too, released this week, “No Easy Op: The Unclassified Analysis of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden.”
It is the “unclassified” part of that title that the operators – and the Pentagon – are emphasizing as the preferred way to write about the operation.
“If I had been part of the raid team on the ground and I had decided to write a book about it, it wouldn't have been a tough decision for me to submit the book for prepublication review,” Little said. “That is common sense. It's a no-brainer, and it did not happen.”
Rear Adm. Sean Pybus, who heads the Naval Special Warfare Command that oversees Navy SEALS, has said that the book may aid US enemies. “We must immediately reconsider how we properly influence our people in and out of uniform NOT to seek inappropriate monetary, political, or celebrity profit from their service,” he said in a letter to the 8,000 troops under his command, according to the Associated Press. “We all have much to gain or lose.”
Yet at the same time, the SEAL Team authors of “No Easy Op” say that though Bissonnette’s book describes the raid in a way that allows the “reading public [to] get their dose of reality,” if the details were too juicy, they acknowledge, the US government would not stand for it.
“The Justice Department would have moved in and shut down the publication of the book,” the authors note, adding that the Pentagon’s general counselor has “yet to point out specific disclosures.”
For that reason, they snipe, “No Easy Day is nothing more than a well-executed marketing strategy that will make the author and publisher tens of millions of dollars overnight.”
Ultimately, it’s a marketing strategy that appears to be working: The book will still be sold on US bases throughout the world at military exchanges.
“There’s been no directive from this department to withhold sale of the book,” Little told reporters Tuesday. “It’s not our typical practices to decide what does and does not go on bookshelves in exchanges.”