Matt Bissonnette, the former Navy SEAL who wrote the book No Easy Day under the pen name Mark Owen, has agreed to forfeit millions he earned from the book following years of legal wranglings. The $6.8 million forfeiture follows another $180,000 Bissonnette handed over from his time as a SEAL and included an apology for not clearing the contents of the books with the Pentagon.
Bissonnette claims that he followed the advice of legal counsel at the time of publication, ignoring non-disclosure agreements from his time as a SEAL and requirements over allowing the Pentagon to approve his manuscript, leading to the lawsuits and investigations according to The Intercept:
The publication of No Easy Day in September 2012, just a few months after Bissonnette was honorably discharged from the Navy, broke the unwritten code of silence among members of the special operations community. SEALs sign nondisclosure agreements about their work, and even beyond the legal ramifications of violating those agreements, former SEAL Team 6 members who speak publicly about their battlefield exploits are often ostracized by their peers…
Bissonnette later acknowledged in interviews that he violated military rules that required him to allow the Defense Department to review his manuscript prior to publication. He has since sued an attorney he consulted, claiming the lawyer advised him the manuscript did not have to be reviewed by the Pentagon.
The Justice Department decided not to follow on any criminal charges against Bissonnette after examining the manuscript according to the New York Times, opting for the royalties instead. The former SEAL apologized alongside the forfeiture of the money, putting a close to the years of investigations:
“I acknowledge my mistake and have paid a stiff price, both personally and financially, for that error,” he said. “I accept responsibility for failing to submit the book for review and apologize sincerely for my oversight.”
Bissonnette is far from the first SEAL to discuss his tenure in the military and is also not the only one to talk about the Bin Laden raid. Most notably was Navy SEAL Robert O’Neil who discussed his role in the Bin Laden raid with Fox News and Esquire, and also enjoys pointing out that ‘Osama Bin Laden died like a p*ssy.’ There’s also Chris Kyle, but that’s another topic entirely.
(Via New York Times / The Intercept)