By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Thursday released new details about a secrecy agreement signed by a former Navy SEAL who wrote a book about his role in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, escalating its argument that the commando violated promises not to disclose classified information.
While declining to make public the non-disclosure document signed by Matt Bissonnette, who wrote under the pseudonym “Mark Owen,” a Defense Department spokesman shared with Reuters a secrecy agreement he said was identical to it: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/infomgt/forms/eforms/dd1847-1.pdf
The spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Todd Breasseale, said Bissonnette violated his pledge simply by sharing the original manuscript of the book, “No Easy Day,” with his publisher and a lawyer outside of government.
Breasseale said that the decision to seek a review of the manuscript for sensitive material by a “former special operations attorney” – which publisher Dutton has acknowledged – suggested Bissonnette had reason to believe it contained classified material.
Bissonnette and his attorney deny that “No Easy Day,” released earlier this week without pre-publication review by the government, contains classified information.
Bissonnette’s attorney, Robert Luskin, said he had no comment in response to the Pentagon’s latest statements.
In an email, Breasseale said the former Navy SEAL’s actions appear “to potentially violate his obligation not to disclose ‘the contents of such preparation to any person not authorized to have access to SCI (Sensitive Compartmented Information) until I have received written authorization from the Department or Agency that last authorized my access to SCI that such disclosure was permitted.’”
The spokesman was quoting part of a standard Pentagon secrecy agreement which he said was “identical” to one which Bissonnette had signed.
Breasseale then pointed to a paragraph in the secrecy agreement in which the signer acknowledges that the purpose of a pre-publication review was “to give the United States a reasonable opportunity to determine” if any manuscript contained any sensitive classified information.
He pointed to another paragraph in the agreement which said that if the person signing the agreement was “uncertain about the classification status of information” they were “required to confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before I may disclose it.”
- Pentagon: Bin Laden Raid Book Reveals Classified Information (voanews.com)
- Ex-SEAL’s book about bin Laden raid has classified info, Pentagon says (mysanantonio.com)
- Pentagon: SEAL’s Book Has Classified Info, Didn’t Follow Protocol (wibw.com)
- Book details daring Bin Laden raid (edition.cnn.com)
- Pentagon Considers Criminal Charges Against Navy Seals Author (atlantablackstar.com)
- Pentagon says ex-SEAL book contains secrets – Austin American-Statesman (statesman.com)
- Pentagon warns former SEAL about bin Laden book (security.blogs.cnn.com)
- Release of SEAL book could ignite fight with the Pentagon (myfox8.com)
- Navy SEAL releases book on bin Laden (wivb.com)
- Pentagon: Navy SEAL book contains classified information (news.yahoo.com)