Questions raised after SEAL's identity revealed
August 23rd, 2012
10:03 PM ET

Questions raised after SEAL's identity revealed

By Mike Mount

The author of the controversial but yet-to-be-published book, "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden," wrote it under the pseudonym Mark Owen.

The book's publisher said the special operations forces team member did not want to reveal his name to protect himself and his family.

But only a day after a New York Times first reported the book was coming out, Fox News reported the author's real name on its website and posted photos of him in combat gear.

Later Thursday, the Associated Press also revealed Owen's real name.

When CNN asked Pentagon officials if they could confirm the author's identify, it was asked not to report his name out of concern for his former colleagues who could still be active.

On Thursday, the New York Times said the book's publisher, Dutton, put out a statement after Owen's name was revealed.

"Mark Owen, like every SEAL he has served with, has put his life on the line time and again for his country for more than a decade. Sharing the true story of his personal experience in "No Easy Day" is a courageous act in the face of obvious risks to his personal security. That personal security is the sole reason the book is being published under a pseudonym. We respectfully request that all news organizations and all Americans consider these facts when deciding whether to pursue or publicize his real identity," the statement said.

The Pentagon will not say how many news organizations asked the Pentagon about the author's real name and were asked not to reveal it for security reasons.

A senior Pentagon official said Fox News did not contact the Department of Defense ahead of revealing the author's name. Fox did not respond to a request for comment.

The AP said it was not asked by the Pentagon to withhold the name.

The author and the book's publisher did not answer calls for comment.

TV interviews with the author must be put in shadow, and similar interviews for print would not reveal his real identity in order to keep the protection he is seeking, according to news reports.

News organizations have been asked to sign a non-disclosure document in order to do the interviews.

Pentagon officials told CNN that Owen and the publishing company did not submit the manuscript through the proper Department of Defense channels to check if secret tactics, techniques and procedures were revealed about the 2011 bin Laden mission.

"Mark Owen" spent more than a decade in the military and left the service last April, Pentagon officials said. If classified military or intelligence information is found to have been revealed in the book, Owen could be charged by the Department of Justice.

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Filed under: Navy SEALs • Osama bin Laden
soundoff (15 Responses)

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  6. David

    The real issue is that a member of Seal Team 6 betrayed his unit, his oath and service. He both signed promises and oaths that both protect him and his family. He broke military procedure and labeled his unit as operationally unreliable. Their operations are secret and classified. The methods and intelligence are classified. This protects all involved.

    He made an oath and signed his promise. He was not free to divulge operations unless ordered to do so. He has tarnished the honorable unit and forces that he served them. I do not wish him ill will but what drove someone so well trained to turn on his fellow soldiers. I just cannot imagine why unless it was money and that is too crass and sad reason to believe.

    I wish to thank the brave, skilled men of the SEALs but if they cannot keep operational secrecy then they should not be deployed.

    August 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Reply
  7. Splunge

    Fox is, once again, shameful. Way to go, Roger Ailes. It's unfortunate that Fox won't allow comments on any of its stories, but I guess I don't blame them.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:02 am | Reply
  8. michaelfury

    August 24, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply
  9. StanCalif

    This week, we learned more about the true GOP platform. It's getting more scary everyday! I hope citizens are paying attention. Maybe, Romney will not be able to buy the presidency after all! FOX is getting desperate now, more unethical "reporting" will surely follow. "Get the Black Man out" may not be so easy after all!

    August 24, 2012 at 6:28 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Let's just hope you're right, Stan. Yes, Mitt Romney does want a more aggressive policy in the Middle East. Then again Barack Obama has been a terrible disappointment in that regard. We need an intelligent foreign policy that respects the rights of all nations instead of the current one of playing the world's biggest bully!!!

      August 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Reply
      • SoundsLikeBS2Me

        President Obama has been fighting smart ....saving American lifes while at the same time taking out America's enemies one at a time. He is employing a scalpel in this war rather than a sledgehammer like Bush did.

        I can tell you this .... President Obama is alot more dangerous to our enemies than George Bush was and than Mitt Romney is.

        August 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
      • ceemeen

        and he is black omg where was he born and other bs

        August 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  10. Bob

    Fox and the Koch brothers are real patriots – at least when it serves their purpose of protecting tax cuts for the rich and keeping the population ignorant and afraid of Obama's UN army.

    However, when it serves their purpose, they will rip apart a Navy Seal's life even though that Seal was part of the team that killed the man behind 9/11.

    What kind of people are behind FOX and this new Republican Party?.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:06 am | Reply
    • Phunnie boy

      Either way, these people can't be all good, Bob!!!!!

      August 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  11. Mark

    Well perhaps FOX will finally stop insulting everyones intelligence by playing the "national security" card every time they need a reason to complain about something that doesn't go their way. I kind of doubt it though. I guess this 'good ole boy' from Seal Team 6 who FOX would normally say we all owe a great debt to is suddenly not a real American and public enemy #1 as far as they're concerned.
    I don't think anyone in politics or the media has ANY integrity whatsoever any more. Everything is for sale these days!

    August 23, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Reply

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