WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Pentagon said Tuesday a new book by a former Navy SEAL on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden contains classified information, an allegation that could expose the author to prosecution.
The Defense Department has already threatened legal action over “No Easy Day,” which went on sale in book stores Tuesday, but officials had previously stopped short of saying whether the book had revealed state secrets.
“We believe that there is classified information in this book,” spokesman George Little told a news conference.
Asked if the US government would take legal action against the author, Little said officials were reviewing all legal options.
“Legal avenues are available to us. I’m simply not going to get into what we may or may not decide,” he said.
He reiterated the Pentagon’s view that the author violated non-disclosure agreements he signed before retiring that required him to submit his first person account for review by the military before publication.
Sending in the book for review was a simple matter of “common sense” and “a no-brainer” for anyone working on national security operations, Little said.
The former Navy commando wrote “No Easy Day” under a pseudonym, Mark Owen, but has been identified in media reports as Matt Bissonnette.
In the book, published by Penguin’s Dutton imprint, he describes his role in the famed raid on bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout as well other operations in Iraq and Afghanistan during his 14-year career as a Navy commando.
Last week, Bissonnette’s lawyer offered a rebuttal to the Pentagon, insisting the author had not broken faith with his commitments and that the non-disclosure agreements did not apply to the bin Laden operation.