Lawsuit Still Possible Against SEAL Author
Former U.S. Navy SEAL Matthew Bissonnette, part of the team on the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, is not off the hook yet with the Pentagon for his book "No Easy Day," which allegedly violated his non-disclosure agreement with the military.
The Defense Department is still considering taking legal action against Bissonnette for disclosing secrets in his book, according to a Pentagon statement.
"The status of the Department's position on the book known as 'No Easy Day' remains the same. The former SEAL clearly violated the non-disclosure agreement which he was both legally and honor-bound to uphold and the Department remains in consideration of every legal option at its disposal."
The non-disclosure agreements signed by U.S. special operators apply even after they retire, according to military lawyers. The agreements require the special operators to submit books for review by the Defense Department before publication. Bissonnette and his publisher did not have "No Easy Day" reviewed before it came out in September.
"No Easy Day" immediately shot to the top of the best-seller lists and Amazon recently listed it as No. 5 on the top 10 books of 2012. The main recourse for the Pentagon, if a decision were made to pursue legal action, would be to go after the profits from the book, according to military law experts.
The Defense Department response on Bissonnette came after officials were asked whether the department might be using a double standard on his case in contrast to the involvement of Michael Vickers, the Defense Department's Under Secretary of Intelligence, with the new movie "Zero Dark Thirty" about the May 2011 Bin Laden raid.
The Pentagon's Inspector General's office is currently conducting an investigation of whether Vickers, considered a frontrunner to take over the post as CIA Director, leaked classified information in his discussions with the producers of the movie.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has expressed "full confidence" in Vickers and Defense Department officials have said that only unclassified information was discussed with the moviemakers.