Wednesday, September 5, 2012
BIN LADEN RAID BOOK CRITICIZED BY THE PENTAGON
A former Navy SEAL's insider account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden contains classified information, the Pentagon said Tuesday, and the admiral who heads the Naval Special Warfare Command said details in the book may provide enemies with dangerous insight into secretive U.S. operations.
Rear Adm. Sean Pybus told his force Tuesday that "hawking details about a mission" and selling other information about SEAL training and operations puts the force and their families at risk.
"For an elite force that should be humble and disciplined for life, we are certainly not appearing to be so," Pybus wrote in a letter to the roughly 8,000 troops under his command. "We owe our chain of command much better than this."
At the Pentagon, press secretary George Little said that an official review of the book, "No Easy Day," determined that it reveals what he called "sensitive and classified" information. He was not more specific but said the author was required to submit the book to the Pentagon before publication for a formal review of potential disclosures of such information.
"When you have special operations units that perform these missions, there are tactics, techniques, and procedures, not to mention human life, that are in play," Little said. "And it is the height of irresponsibility not to have this kind of material checked for the possible disclosure of classified information."
Pybus, in his letter, was more direct, saying that, "We must immediately reconsider how we properly influence our people in and out of uniform NOT to seek inappropriate monetary, political, or celebrity profit from their service" with the SEALS.
Last week, Adm. William McRaven, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, warned his troops that he would take legal action against anyone found to have exposed sensitive information that could cause fellow forces harm.
A lawyer for author Matt Bissonnette, who wrote under the pseudonym Mark Owen, has disputed that he was legally obliged to have the book screened before publication.
Little would not say what damage may result from the book's revelations and he declined to point to any specific portions of the book that contain material that would be considered a violation and a release of classified information.
The book, which was published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), was No. 1 on Amazon's best seller list Tuesday, which was its official release day.