- The Washington Times
Saturday, September 8, 2012

Don’t look for former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette on the airways promoting his account of the raid on Osama bin Laden in a book that the Pentagon and special operations community wished he had never written.

Because of security concerns, Mr. Bissonnette’s appearance on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday will be his last, book publicist Christine Ball said.

He had planned more media appearances to sell “No Easy Day,” his firsthand account of the CIA/SEAL raid that killed bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison town in May 2011.

But then Fox News reported that Mr. Bissonnette was the ex-commando behind the pen name “Mark Owen.” The author has had to go into hiding and has scratched personal appearances — at least for now.

“His first and only one will be on ‘60 Minutes’ this Sunday,” Ms. Ball, a publicist at Penguin Group, which includes the Dutton imprint that published “No Easy Day,” told The Washington Times. “Once his name broke, we decided not to pursue other media due to security reasons.”

It is not as if Dutton needs Mr. Bissonnette out there hawking a book that is sure to be a New York Times best-seller.

The news media have given “No Easy Day” scads of copy. It was sparked in part by the book’s first insider’s account of one of the most famous military operations ever.

To boot, senior military officials have stirred up coverage by publicly condemning the book for drawing attention to the work of the secretive Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or SEAL Team 6, as it is better known.

One Web page of Google News shows nearly 5,000 print and TV stories about the book.

Mr. Bissonnette and his account have been denounced by George Little, spokesman for Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who personally reviewed “No Easy Day.”

Navy Adm. William McRaven, who commanded the bin Laden mission from his headquarters in Afghanistan and now directs U.S. Special Operations Command, also criticized the former SEAL’s decision to go public.

Another critic is the Navy’s top SEAL, Rear Adm. Sean Pybus.

Mr. Bissonnette’s attorney says his client did not divulge classified information, nor was he explicitly required to submit the manuscript for pre-publication review.

The Times spoke with a senior retired Navy officer who has close ties to the SEAL community. The source said the author was careful not to disclose classified SEAL techniques and tactics.

The Obama administration released much information about the raid in background interviews with reporters. President Obama’s re-election campaign also runs ads touting the bin Laden killing.

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