Alaskan Navy Seal who wrote book on bin Laden killing identified, faces likely probe

On Wednesday this week, Reuters reported that a Navy Seal had written a book about the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. The book, entitled “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden,” was written by a former Seal Team Six member under the pseudonym of “Mark Owen” along with co-author Kevin Maurer. The publisher states that it will be released on 9/11.

According to Reuters:

The U.S. government was surprised by the news that a Navy SEAL who participated in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan has written a book about the operation in which the al Qaeda leader was killed, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. . . It was not vetted by government agencies to ensure that no secrets were revealed.

The agencies not consulted included the Pentagon and the CIA. The publisher, Dutton of the U.S. Penguin Group, responded:

The book was vetted by a former special operations attorney. He vetted it for tactical, technical, and procedural information as well as information that could be considered classified by compilation and found it to be without risk to national security.

After a bit of sleuthing, Fox News discovered that the author was part of the elite team that killed three Somalian pirates who had taken control of an American vessel in the Indian Ocean in 2009, and that

“Mark Owen,” the pseudonym under which the book was written, is actually 35 year-old Matt Bissonnette of Wrangell, Alaska. Bissonnette held the rank of chief in the elite Navy SEAL Team 6 prior to retiring. He was one of the first men in the room where bin Laden died, witnessing the occurrence first-hand.

Some have called Fox’s decision to publicize Bissonnette’s name and location “astonishing” as it most certainly puts the former Navy Seal at risk of reprisal by Islamic fanatics.  Fox disagreed, noting that anyone who publishes such a book loses any reasonable expectation of privacy.  The network also contended that Bissonnette’s goal is to publicly confront Obama for “taking credit” for the raid, since he had cited the need to “set the record straight.”

It now appears that Obama may be attempting to preempt this confrontation. According to Reuters, Bissonnette is likely to face a Department of Defense probe over his failure to have the book “cleared” prior to publication:

Colonel Tim Nye, spokesman for the U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, which directs operations by Navy SEALs and other special operations forces, said on Thursday that SOCOM did not review the book before publication, nor had the SEALs.

Nye said that because the book had not been subjected to appropriate pre-publication review, it could become a target of “potential investigation” by government authorities.

Unfortunately for Obama, “any such inquiry was unlikely to be launched until after the book’s publication, scheduled for the anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States.”