SEAL broke no US secrecy rules with book: lawyer
WASHINGTON:Ex-Navy SEAL, who wrote a book about the raid that took out Osama bin Laden, has not violated any non-disclosure agreements with the Pentagon and has “earned the right to tell his story,” his lawyer said Friday.
The author of “No Easy Day” sought legal advice before going ahead with the book and was not required to submit the manuscript in advance to defense officials as the Pentagon claims, according to his attorney, Robert Luskin.
The former commando “is proud of his service and respectful of his obligations,” Luskin wrote in reply to a letter from the Pentagon’s top lawyer, Jeh Johnson.
“But he has earned the right to tell his story; his abiding interest is to ensure that he is permitted to tell it while recognizing the letter and spirit of the law and his contractual undertakings,” he wrote.
The rebuttal came a day after the Pentagon threatened legal action over the book, insisting the author had violated non-disclosure agreements he signed while in uniform by failing to submit his manuscript for review before publication.
The retired Navy commando wrote “No Easy Day” under a pseudonym, Mark Owen, but has been identified by US media as Matt Bissonnette.
The book, a first-hand account of the raid on the al Qaeda chief’s Pakistan compound, is due to be released next week after the publisher, Penguin’s Dutton imprint, decided to move up the release amid a surge in orders and publicity.
A non-disclosure agreement signed by Owen in 2007 only requires book manuscripts to be submitted to the Pentagon in advance in “certain circumstances,” the author’s lawyer said.
Under that deal, specific sensitive programs were identified as off-limits but the agreement did not apply to the May 2011 operation targeting Osama bin Laden at his Abbottabad hideout, he said.