Defense Department officials continue to weigh their legal options against a former Navy SEAL who may have revealed classified information in a book he wrote about the Osama bin Laden raid, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a news conference Sept. 4.
On Aug. 30, the Defense Department sent an advisory letter of material breach and nondisclosure violation to the author, who used the pen name Mark Owen to write “No Easy Day.”
Officials maintain Owen may have divulged classified information that could jeopardize the safety of military members in future operations.
“When it comes to sensitive special operations missions such as the [one] that took down Osama bin Laden, it is important that those … involved in such operations take care to protect sensitive and classified information,” Little said. “And if I had been part of the raid team on the ground and I had decided to write a book about it, it wouldn’t have been a tough decision for me to submit the book for prepublication review. That is common sense. It’s a no-brainer, and it did not happen.”
Little said Pentagon officials have read the book and are unwavering in their concerns about sensitive and classified information that they believe the book contains, but no plans have been put in place to withhold sale of the book in military exchanges or to the public.
“There’s been no directive from this department to withhold sale of the book from military exchanges. … [The] book is being made widely available in bookstores and online,” Little said.
The Defense Department typically is not in the business of policing what goes on bookshelves, Little said. Rather, he added, it simply wants to protect classified information, as all current and former DOD employees have a “solemn obligation” to do.
“The sole yardstick is classification. … This is a former service member who wrote a book,” Little said. “This is about merely trying to protect classified information, … not about trying to prevent the telling of a story.”