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Pentagon May Take Legal Action Against SEAL Author

by Krishnadev Calamur
Aug 30, 2012

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The Pentagon says it is considering taking legal action against the author of No Easy Day, a firsthand account of the Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.

In a letter [PDF] to the author, the Defense Department's general counsel, Jeh Johnson, said the book violated the author's agreements to not divulge military secrets.

The author of No Easy Day is Matt Bissonnette, who used the pseudonym Mark Owen. Johnson's letter is addressed to "Mr Owen."

The letter says the author signed two nondisclosure agreements, which remain in force though he has left the active-duty Navy.

Here's more from the letter dated Aug. 30:

"I write to formally advise you of your material breach and violation of your agreements, and to inform you that the Department is considering pursuing against you, and all those acting in concert with you, all remedies legally available to us in light of this situation."

Bissonnette wrote that one of his colleagues shot bin Laden in a doorway in the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. He says he and another SEAL found al-Qaida's leader gravely wounded on the floor in his bedroom and killed him. That appears to contradict the Obama administration's account of the killing, which said SEALs assumed bin Laden could be reaching for a weapon.

Bissonnette says the book is "not political whatsoever," and he wrote it to set the record straight. Here's what he says in an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes due to air Sept. 9: "If these crazies on either side of the aisle want to make it political, shame on them. This is a book ... about Sept. 11, and it needs to rest on Sept. 11, not be brought into the political arena."

Bissonnette's book goes on sale Sept. 4.

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