The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Former Navy SEAL’s poor decision may bring lawsuit

‘No Easy Day,’ the publication of the account of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, has certainly proven to be ‘no easy day’ for the Navy SEAL who wrote the book.

The book is number one on Amazon’s best seller list. Its initial print run of 575,000 copies has been upped. The Pentagon is threatening to sue. And it may just cost an American life.

Former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, who used the pseudonym “Mark Owen,” is under scrutiny for giving a firsthand account of the bin Laden raid and the al-Qaeda mastermind’s final moments.

According to Amazon’s book description, ‘No Easy Day’ puts readers alongside Owen and the other hand-picked members of the twenty-four-man team as they train for the biggest mission of their lives.”

But what if it’s better for us not to know?

The Pentagon states that the book contains sensitive, classified information. Furthermore, Bissonnette didn’t submit the book for pre-publication review. His account puts American soldiers’ lives and those of their families at great risk, without a doubt.

After all, how hard is it to purchase a book, let alone pre-order it, with a click of a button? Simply put, it’s not hard for American secrets to fall into the wrong hands.

Supporters of Bissonnette and his book may ask, “Could this information really cause a death?” Slate writer Brian Palmer asks an even better question, “Has an intelligence leak ever caused a death?”

Although the causal link may be difficult to prove, Palmer points out similar, past incidents in his article.

One: the killing of CIA Station Chief Richard Welch in 1975. U.S. officials suspect former CIA agent Philip Agee to be responsible for the leak through Agee’s book “Inside the Company: CIA Diary” and Agee’s work on the magazine “CounterSpy,” which identified Welch as a spy.

Two: Herbert Yardley, former telegraph agent during World War I, who broke the communications code of Imperial Japan. After Yardley published an unauthorized memoir, the Japanese changed their encryption techniques. Palmer mentions how “some historians today wonder whether the United States would have been better prepared for the Pearl Harbor invasion if Yardley had kept his secrets.”

The Pentagon did not state which parts of Bissonnette’s book contained classified information. However, military officials told CNN that some of the included photographs of advanced night vision goggles are of concern.

Despite matters of the released sensitive details in his book, some strongly believe that Bissonnette has his own rights as a citizen, such as being able to publish a book.

“While legally he may be obligated by his military contract to remain quiet, from the perspective of a citizen, it seems to me that he is not only free, but has an obligation, to comment and tell of his experiences — to speak truth to power,” Jeremy Rinker, visiting assistant professor of peace and conflict studies said in an email. “The concern to label such material as ‘classified’ or ‘top secret’ is a covert way of the government’s trying to control the narrative (or story) of the events of bin Laden’s death.”

Although I understand some of the previously mentioned points, I respectfully disagree.

First, Bissonnette doesn’t have any obligation as an American citizen to tell.

Second, he is a former Navy SEAL. Bissonnette should know better than anyone else: once a SEAL, always a SEAL. A Navy SEAL does not inform the public of his or her secret missions and what goes on during those assignments.

The individual has a duty to protect his nation and its citizens. Because he is a citizen, he ought to be all the more careful in keeping his mouth sealed.

Third, the government may, in fact, be trying to control the narrative of the bin Laden raid and for good reason too. If they released all the details, national security could be compromised.

All arguments considered, I still have the utmost respect for the former Navy SEAL and his service to this nation. I thank his comrades who fought alongside him that night of the bin Laden raid.

It is because I respect the men and women who put their lives on hold for us that I believe the publication of “No Easy Day” was a poor decision. I worry that this book, written by someone who knows the danger of the situation, may jeopardize those who are out there fighting on the front lines right now. This book isn’t fair to them.

View Comments (3)
More to Discover

Comments (3)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    MikeSep 15, 2012 at 11:53 am

    There is not much in this book that the internet/history channel/discovery channel and the White House have not shown or said already. The only thing the administration does not like is that it does not agree with “their version”

    It is a great read and the article writer is a bit off in the commentary imo.

  • W

    Wolfe M.Sep 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    With all do respect, this is a very poorly written article. There is absolutely no substance even for an opinion piece. Pointing to one piece of evidence that invariably came from a newscast is hardly reporting. “It is bad because it’s bad” is clearly no way to model one’s argument.

    I normally wouldn’t write a response to an article — especially not a negative one — but this was one of the top results on a Google search of “No Easy Day”. This is simply not on a college level. I encourage you to keep writing, but make sure to really bring it with every piece you do. I have been writing for over a decade and I fear that if this is acceptable for a college paper, the future of reporting is doomed. Work harder, Haejin Song.

  • J

    josh leibermanSep 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    You are 100% incorrect with your rediculous opinion that this book puts people in danger. This SEAL was very clear about the conent of this book and was reviewed by a military affiliated attorney prior to being published. The book does NOT reveal anything that is not already available to the general public. I commend the author not only for being a hero but also having the right to document a historic event that helps defend our country and the lives of many others. The literature was vague yet detailed enough to get the point across for the readers. There is nothing written that the average person can not attain from other publications or simply surfing the net. Believe me that the radical crazy folks out there have access to more advanced intel than a nationally published book. He and the people that worked with him should be viewed as heroes! Shame on you or anyone else insulting him or his book. Lawsuit? really!! so now lets sue the ones that risk their lives for us. shame on you and the attorneys involved. He is a hero!!