As retired Navy SEAL Mark Owens’s (a.k.a Matt Bissonnette) “No Easy Day” hits shelves today, a new e-book on Special Operations offers fresh insight into why Bissonnette broke his code of silence with his tell-all account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
A group of Special Ops veterans released its own e-book Monday, “No Easy Op: The Unclassified Analysis of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden,” which suggests Bissonnette “was willing to break the code of silence honored by many commandos because of ‘bad blood’ with his former unit, the elite SEAL Team 6,” writes The New York Times.
According to the NYT, the e-book claims Bissonnette was “effectively pushed out of SEAL Team 6 after he expressed interest last year in leaving the Navy and starting a business.”
No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden is a military memoir of "Mark Owen", a pseudonymous former member of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) subsequently identified as Matt Bissonnette, who participated in the mission that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. The book was scheduled to be released on September 11, 2012, but was moved to September 4 because of a surge in orders. Advance publicity drove the book to the top of the Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com best-seller lists. Also the originally planned release of 300,000 copies increased to 575,000 copies after fevered hype in media and on social networks in late August 2012.
Although Bissonnette was rumored to be in talks with Dreamworks and Steven Spielberg to turn the book into an action movie, a representative for Spielberg and DreamWorks said the director doesn’t have any plans to make the book into a movie.
The author, Matt Bissonnette, was one of the United States Navy SEALs who participated in the mission to kill Osama bin Laden and stated that he was one of the team members present in the third-floor room of bin Laden's compound when the terrorist leader was killed. In the months following the mission, Bissonnette retired and began authoring the book. Bissonnette claims to express the position that DEVGRU(formerly SEAL Team Six) held with the mission.
The book was published by Dutton Penguin on September 4, 2012, a week before the eleventh anniversary of theSeptember 11 attacks. Bissonnette stated that a small amount of the proceeds from the book will be donated to families of SEALs killed in action. Shortly after the book's announcement, Bissonnette's identity was revealed, with the Department of Defense confirming him as the pseudonymous author. For media appearances, Bissonnette appeared incognito.
The publication of No Easy Day was announced on August 22, 2012, not long after retired members of DEVGRU, as well as retired members of the Central Intelligence Agency, accused United States President Barack Obama of taking credit and releasing sensitive documentation for the aid of hiscampaign for the 2012 presidential election. Press secretary George E. Little of the United States Department of Defense stated that the book had yet to be evaluated for sensitive information that could potentially jeopardize national security. Lieutenant Colonel James Gregory of the Department of Defense stated that should the book contain specialized information about SEAL weapons and tactics, that Bissonnette could potentially be charged with a criminal offense. Christine Ball of Dutton Penguin, however, said that the contents of the book were vetted by a former special operations attorney and that sensitive content would not be an issue.
On August 25, 2012, Members of al Qaeda spread Bissonnette's personal information, calling upon militants to exact revenge upon him, identifying him as one responsible for the death of bin Laden.
On August 30, 2012, the Pentagon announced that it was considering legal action against the former U.S. Navy SEAL for material breach of non-disclosure agreements with his first-hand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. According to the DoD, Bissonnette had signed a Classified Information Non-Disclosure Agreement and a 2007 Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) Nondisclosure Statement that requires pre-publication security review under certain circumstances. Bissonnette's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, responded that the non-disclosure statements only require review of items that touch certain, highly classified programs, and Bissonnette's book does not meet that description.
Former SEAL Brandon Webb reported on 4 September 2012 that he had learned through sources in the SEAL community that Bissonnette had decided to write the book based on poor treatment he received from the US Navy shortly before he separated from the service. According to Webb, when Bissonnette told his comrades on SEAL Team Six that he was going to leave the service, he was ostracized by his leadership and ordered to return to his home base even though his unit was in the middle of a training exercise. The book's publisher disputed Webb's account, repeating co-author Maurer's statement that, "After spending several very intense months working with Mark Owen on this book, I know that he wrote this book solely to share a story about the incredible men and women defending America all over the world. Any suggestion otherwise is as ill-informed as it is inaccurate."
As of August 31, 2012, four days before the scheduled release date, No Easy Day was listed as the best selling book on Amazon.com.