Pentagon Claims Book About Bin Laden’s Assassination Reveals Classified Information

The aim of “No Easy Day,” a book co-authored by former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette about bin Laden’s assassination, was “to share a story about the incredible men and women defending America all over the world” — according to Bissonnette’s co-author Kevin Maurer. Still, the Defense Department is now considering legal action, as they claim the book reveals classified information, and could potentially bring criminal charges against Bissonnette.

Pentagon spokesperson, George Little, said the book should have been submitted to the Pentagon prior to its publication for approval, though Bissonnette’s lawyer disputes that claim. Yet, last week the Pentagon’s top lawyer notified Bissonnette that they believe he violated two nondisclosure agreements and a related agreement he signed when he left active duty.

Little told Reuters:

It is the height of irresponsibility not to have this kind of material checked for the possible disclosure of classified information. And we have very serious concerns after having reviewed the book.

Maurer, however, insisted no harm was done, stating:

When we worked on this book [Matt] was meticulous about adhering to his desire to never do anything to undermine the SEALs' mission or put his former colleagues in harm's way … I personally feel that [he] is a hero who has written a book that celebrates his teammates and the SEALs and that when people get a chance to read this book they will agree.

To complicate matters, a new e-book written by Special Operations veterans, released yesterday, implies that Bissonnette went ahead with writing his book because of problems with his former SEAL team. The e-book, titled “No Easy Op: The Unclassified Analysis of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden” states that after Bissonnette expressed interest in leaving the Navy to start a business, he was ostracized and eventually handed a plane ticket back home. Still, “No Easy Op” is mostly supportive of Bissonnette and stated that it is unlikely that his book revealed classified information.

“No Easy Day” went on sale today and became Amazon’s No. 1 bestseller. Bissonnette, who writes under the pseudonym "Mark Owen," describes why he wanted to become a Navy SEAL and, of course, the mission to capture bin Laden. On “60 Minutes,” he revealed that the SEALs were supposed to capture bin Laden alive. Although the book is meant to glorify the mission, the LA Times’ review of book states that it also exposes unanswered questions about bin Laden’s death.

The LA Times stated:

Why did he fire at an unarmed subject? … And what about pumping bullets into Bin Laden as he lay defenseless on the floor? Doesn't the Geneva Convention require the rendering of aid to even the most despicable of wounded combatants? Or do such rules not apply to U.S. special forces? Possibly to avoid such inconvenient questions, the White House insisted bin Laden was killed in a firefight.

In their review, The LA Times stated that Bissonnette’s tone was mostly emotionless, except for one noticeable moment — when Bissonnette looks down at bin Laden in a pool of blood, he writes:

[Bin Laden] had no intention of fighting. He asked his followers for decades to wear suicide vests or fly planes into buildings but didn't even pick up his weapon. In all of my deployments, we routinely saw this phenomenon … The leaders were less willing to fight. It is always the young and impressionable who strap on the explosives and blow themselves up.

I wonder if he’s noticed that U.S. leaders are no exception.

AlterNet / By Alyssa Figueroa

Posted at September 4, 2012, 6:00pm