The publication of No Easy Day, a book written by a former U.S. Navy SEAL recounting his experience in the Bin Laden raid, has created much controversy within the United States government. The author, Matt Bissonnette, who originally published the book under the pen name “Mark Owen” to protect his identity, has come under fire by the U.S. government for publishing his work without first having it screened by the Department of Defense or any other governmental authority. The book was released on September 4, a week earlier than planned due to the controversy’s provocation of premature publicity.
The Department of Defense holds that Bissonnette signed government nondisclosure agreements, which were violated when he failed to submit his work for review before publication. Bissonnette and his lawyer counter that Bissonnette sought legal advice before publishing the book and claim that his content does not fall under the category that requires “prior review.” Bissonnette insists that he has not released information that could hurt future missions or national security.
Bissonnette expresses an opposing account of the Bin Laden raid to that of the U.S. government and also relays the SEALs’ collective disapproval of Obama in his novel. Bissonnette writes, contrary to what the government informed the media, that Bin Laden was not armed when they found him, was already wounded, and did not attempt any defense when the SEALs killed him. Bissonnette, who was also part of the 2009 mission to rescue Captain Richard Phillips from Somalian pirates, has stated that proceeds from No Easy Day will go to the families of ex-Navy SEALs killed during service.
The outing of Bissonnette’s real name, which occurred shortly after the initial controversy, has put him on the radar of potential terrorists. There have been reports of his real identity and rumors of his assassination on Jihadi websites. The government stands by its statements regarding Bissonnette’s material breach and continues to pursue legal action against him and his confederates.