The Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation against former Navy SEAL Team 6 member Matt Bissonnette over his book No Easy Day and “paid speeches he have given at corporate events.”
The Wrap reports that Bissonnette did not run the manuscript for his book through the Pentagon before publishing it. He apologized for this through his attorneys last year and agreed to “pay millions in royalties.” The DOJ refused the royalty offer and opened the criminal investigation instead.
Subsequently, on October 29 Fox News announced plans to air the name of the Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden only to cancel those plans in light of a Pentagon reminder that even retired SEALs are “still bound” by their non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
According to Business Insider, Navy Commander Amy Derrick-Frost encouraged discretion for SEALs who discuss their past work:
Navy SEALs continue to serve and fight bravely around the world, accomplishing critical missions that help keep our nation safe. The major details of the bin Laden mission are well known, many of them a matter of public record. [Yet] we urge any former SEALs to abide by the SEAL Ethos, particularly the core tenant, “I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions.”
With Derrick-Frost’s statement in mind, it is ironic to consider The Wrap’s report that Bissonnette claims he was motivated to write No Easy Day when “former CIA director Leon Panetta advised SEAL Team 6 members to talk to the producers behind ‘Zero Dark Thirty.'”
And now that the criminal investigation against him is under way, Bissonnette says he feels “singled out” because “White House and military officials leaked information… [for] ‘Zero Dark Thirty'” but no investigations or prosecutions followed.
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