Ex-Navy SEAL to pay millions in settlement over book on Bin Laden raid

The former Navy SEAL who wrote a book about his role in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden will pay the American government more than $6.6 million US for violating non-disclosure agreements and publishing without getting it cleared by the Defence Department, according to U.S. federal court documents.

Matt Bissonnette will give U.S. government over $6 million US in book and movie rights profits for No Easy Day

No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden, by Mark Owen (a pseudonym), has generated more than $6 million US in profits that now have to be handed over to the American government. (Dutton/The Associated Press)

The former Navy SEAL who wrote a book about his role in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden will pay the government more than $6.6 million US for violating non-disclosure agreements and publishing without getting it cleared by the U.S. Defence Department, according to court documents.

Matt Bissonnette, who wrote No Easy Day under the pseudonym Mark Owen, will give the U.S. government all profits and royalties from the book or movie rights. The proceeds already total more than $6.6 million.

He will have four years to pay the bulk of that. The payments were outlined in settlement documents filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia.

According to the settlement, Bissonnette also has 30 days to pay $100,000 from the proceeds of presentations he gave using slides that were not approved by the department.

Osama bin Laden, killed in a 2011 raid in Pakistan, is seen in this undated photo in Afghanistan. (Associated Press)

The book triggered a Justice Department probe, including claims it contained classified material. Bissonnette had signed non-disclosure agreements during his service as a SEAL, and he took part in a number of highly secret operations including the bin Laden raid.

Under the agreement, Bissonnette said he would acknowledge he made a mistake by failing to submit the book for pre-publication review. And in exchange for the payments, the U.S. government has dismissed other liability claims.

In this May 3, 2011 photo, local residents gather outside a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a raid the day before. (B.K. Bangash/Associated Press)

Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas said the agreement doesn't discredit Bissonnette's military service, but reinforces that service members comply with the non-disclosure documents they sign.

Bissonnette has written a follow-up — also under the name Owen — detailing his journey as a member of SEAL Team Six. That book, No Hero: the Evolution of a Navy SEAL, did go through the proper channels and a few sections were redacted.