The Navy SEAL Who Wrote The Book About The Bin Laden Raid Is Under Criminal Investigation

Matt bissonnette no easy day mark owen navy sealCBS News/screenshotMatt Bissonnette

The ex-Navy SEAL who wrote the best-selling memoir “No Easy Day” that provided a first-hand account of the raid resulting in the death of Osama bin Laden is under a Justice Department criminal investigation for possibly leaking classified material.

Though Matt Bissonnette’s 2012 book initially got him in hot water since he failed to submit the manuscript to the Pentagon for review, people familiar with the investigation told The New York Times there is more interest in what he’s said in paid speeches at corporate events.

From The Times:

They include at least one talk last year, at a golf club in Atlanta, in which audience members were asked to turn in their mobile phones before he spoke so that nothing could be recorded, according to people who attended the event.

Mr. Bissonnette has apologised for failing to have the book vetted through the Pentagon’s required security review process.

Bissonnette’s lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, told The Times he thought an agreement was reached with Justice and the Pentagon to settle the book matter and have Bissonnette forfeit some of the royalties. Instead, a criminal investigation was opened in May or June.

The SEAL’s book, which he wrote under the pen name “Mark Owen,” offered insight into the training and workings of the elite SEAL Team 6 — known as Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) — along with interesting details about the Bin Laden raid.

Although it remains the only first-hand book written of the raid, there were few startling revelations from “No Easy Day.” A long article about how the May 2, 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan transpired appeared in The New Yorker just three months after it occurred. And other books, including “The Finish” by Mark Bowden, and “Manhunt” by Peter Bergen also recounted what happened, citing both military and civilian sources.

The website SOFREP, a military news site run by former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb, reported in Aug. 2012 that the public affairs officer for Adm. William McRaven, then commander of Special Operations Command, “[had] been in contact with the author directly, and that (apparently) no classified information has been disclosed in the memoir.”

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