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Pentagon considers legal options against ex-SEAL author of Bin Laden book

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
The cover for the book, No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden by Mark Owen, is seen in this undated photo.

The cover for the book, 'No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden' by Mark Owen, is seen in this undated photo. (KABC Photo)

The publication of a book about the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden written by one of the SEAL operators involved prompted the Pentagon to consider legal action against the officer.

The book "No Easy Day," written by Matt Bissonnette under the pseudonym "Mark Owen," offers details of the raid that resulted in Bin Laden's death. The book is being reviewed by the Pentagon for potential classified details.

Bissonnette signed a non-disclosure agreement requiring him to submit any written-for-publication materials to the Pentagon for review before publishing. The book was not submitted, and early copies have been leaked. The Pentagon has a copy for review.

A Pentagon spokesman said Bissonnette was deemed to be in violation of two nondisclosure agreements that he signed in 2007 for not submitting the book for an official security review before it was published.

"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," Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's top lawyer, wrote ina letter faxed to the author Thursday through his publisher.

In response, Robert D. Luskin of the law firm Patton Boggs wrote to Johnson on Friday that his firm is representing Bissonnette and asserting that he is not in breach of his nondisclosure agreements.

By signing the agreements, Bissonnette acknowledged his awareness, Johnson wrote, 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 that the author is in "material breach and violation" of the agreements, but did not say explicitly that the book reveals secrets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Tags:
al qaeda, terrorism, the pentagon, washington d.c., security, legal, national news
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