Pentagon lawyer slams bin Laden raid book
Alleges former SEAL's account reveals military secrets
Posted: Aug 31, 2012 1:32 AM ET
Last Updated: Aug 31, 2012 1:26 AM ET
The former U.S. navy SEAL whose forthcoming book describes details of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden violated agreements to not divulge military secrets, leading the Pentagon to consider legal action, the Pentagon's top lawyer says.
The firsthand account of the raid by U.S. navy SEALs that killed Osama bin Laden could result in a law suit, the Pentagon's top lawyer warns. (AP Photo/Dutton, file)The general counsel of the Defence Department, Jeh Johnson, wrote in a letter transmitted to the author that he had signed two nondisclosure agreements with the navy in 2007 that obliged him to "never divulge" classified information.
"This commitment remains in force even after you left the active duty navy," Johnson wrote. He said the author, Matt Bissonnette, left active duty "on or about April 20, 2012," which was nearly one year after the May 2011 raid.
By signing the agreements, Johnson wrote, Bissonnette acknowledged his awareness that "disclosure of classified information constitutes a violation of federal criminal law." He said it also obliged the author to submit his manuscript for a security review by the government before it was published.
The Pentagon has said the manuscript was not submitted for review, although it obtained a copy last week.
Johnson said that after reviewing a copy of the book, No Easy Day, the Pentagon concluded the author is in "material breach and violation" of the agreements. The book is to be published next week by Penguin Group (USA)'s Dutton imprint. The Associated Press purchased a copy Tuesday.
Johnson addressed his letter to Mr. "Mark Owen," using quotation marks to signify that this is the author's pseudonym. His real name is Matt Bissonnette.
Bissonnette referred requests for comment about the letter to his publisher, who was unavailable.
"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," Johnson wrote.
The Pentagon has not revealed how it got a copy of the book.
Johnson noted that "copies of the book have apparently already been released." He added, "further public dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements."
The Pentagon did not release copies of the non-disclosure agreements that it said Bissonnette had signed in 2007. A spokesman, army Col. Steve Warren, said they were being withheld because they include the author's real name and his signature.
In his book, Bissonnette wrote that the SEALs spotted bin Laden at the top of a darkened hallway and shot him in the head even though they could not tell whether he was armed. Administration officials have described the SEALs shooting bin Laden only after he ducked back into a bedroom because they assumed he might be reaching for a weapon.
Military experts said Wednesday that if Bissonnette's recollection is accurate, the SEALS made the right call to open fire on the terrorist mastermind, who had plenty of time to reach for a weapon or explosives as they made their way up to the third level of the house where he hid.
- Pushing Chinese stars beyond gimmick Hollywood roles by Jessica Wong May. 22, 2013 4:49 PM Li Bingbing is the latest comely Chinese face joining a major Hollywood production -- in this case, Michael Bay's fourth instalment of Transformers. With Hollywood eager to tap into China's massive movie-going audience, it's become de rigueur to score a beautiful and popular Chinese actress for tentpole movies. However, some Chinese moviegoers want more than gimmicky roles for their homegrown stars and nonsensical cuts of blockbusters screened in China alone.
Top News Headlines
- Neil Macdonald: Harper no Obama when it comes to dealing with scandals
- Beset by three so-called scandals at the moment, Barack Obama has been meeting his accusers and the press head on, Neil Macdonald writes. The same cannot be said for how Stephen Harper operates. more »
- Court freezes assets in widening SNC-Lavalin probe
- The RCMP are moving to freeze millions of dollars in bank accounts and real estate holdings in Montreal and Florida in their expanding probe into Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin. more »
- Needed: New approaches to defuse 'suicide contagion' among teens
- Mental health experts say we need to find new ways to refer to and discuss suicide, particularly now that a large medical study has confirmed that teens are more susceptible to the idea if they know a schoolmate who died that way. more »
- 2nd suspect in Tim Bosma case in court today on murder charge
- A second man arrested in the death of Tim Bosma, a Hamilton father who disappeared after taking two men on a test drive, is due in court today to face a charge of first-degree murder. more »
Latest Arts & Entertainment News Headlines
- Beatles lyrics donated to British Library
- The British Library on Wednesday added substantially to its already formidable collection with handwritten lyrics to Beatles' classics Strawberry Fields Forever, She Said She Said and In My Life. more »
- Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart crack jokes about Rob Ford
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's woes over crack cocaine allegations are providing plenty of late-night TV fodder for Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart and other comedians south of the border. more »
- Lydia Davis wins $93K Man Booker International Prize
- Lydia Davis, an American writer of short stories —some of them just a single line long — has won the £60,000 ($93,230 Cdn) Man Booker International Prize. more »
- Battle of the Blades back in CBC fall-winter lineup
- CBC-TV has released a fall lineup that includes the return of Battle of the Blades and new international co-production Crossing Lines. more »
- Dan Brown's bizarre rituals May. 22, 2013 11:03 AM The author discusses his new novel, Inferno, and the ritual he performs when launching another book.
- Juvenile inmates benefiting from Russian literature May. 22, 2013 4:21 PM A juvenile correctional facility in Virginia has seen the behavioural benefits of encouraging their inmates to read the works of classic Russian writers like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.
- 2nd suspect named in Tim Bosma slaying
- Killing near London barracks probed as 'terror' act
- 2nd suspect in Tim Bosma case in court today on murder charge
- Mike Duffy's primary home not P.E.I., unedited Senate report says
- Senators' Alfredsson on defeating Penguins: 'Probably not'
- 'Appalling murder' of U.K. soldier prompts emergency meeting
- Rob Ford fired as Don Bosco Eagles football coach
- 1.3 million Montrealers face boil water advisory
- 'You will see him again in heaven,' Sharlene Bosma tells daughter