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First-hand Account of Bin Laden Raid Elicits Wrath of Pentagon

The Pentagon has threatened to take legal action against author who wrote firsthand account of raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 9/4/2012, 6:49 PM

The cover of "No Easy Day", an account of the capture of Osama Bin Laden,
The cover of "No Easy Day", an account of the capture of Osama Bin Laden,
Reuters

The much-anticipated memoir of a Navy SEAL involved in raid that killed Osama bin Laden has gained public attention to such a degree that pre-orders have already propelled the book to placed No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

However, the book titled, “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden," which is set to make its notable debut in stores on September 11, has become so controversial that the Pentagon general counsel has threatened legal action against its author.

In a letter addressed to "Mark Owen," the pen name of book's author Matt Bissonnette, General Counsel Jeh Charles Johnson alleged that the writer violated secrecy agreements and broke federal law.

"In the judgment of the Department of Defense, you are in material breach and violation of the nondisclosure agreements you signed. Further public dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements," Johnson wrote, according to CNN.

Bissonnette's lawyer, responded in a letter last week saying the author "sought legal advice about his responsibilities before agreeing to publish his book and scrupulously reviewed the work to ensure that it did not disclose any material that would breach his agreements or put his former comrades at risk."

According to The New York Times, the book “is careful to avoid all but the most basic information about his SEAL experiences, and its emphasis is on the close-up experience of a team member in action not on the big picture policy questions that determine how he has been deployed.”

“The worst it has to say about President Obama,” according to the Times, “is that none of the fighters who caught bin Laden wanted to help re-elect him.”

It remains unclear how the Defense Department will proceed or if Tuesday's release will launch a court battle.

"None of us were huge fans of Obama,” Bissonnette wrote in the book. “We respected him as the commander-in-chief of the military and for giving us the green light on the mission."

A spokesman of the Penguin Group said last month that all proceeds from the book will be donated to charitable causes that benefit the families of fallen Navy SEALs.

A group of former military and intelligence officials recently launched a campaign against President Obama, accusing him of claiming undue credit for the Osama bin Laden raid and suggesting the administration leaked classified security information for the purpose of political gain.