Top commander concerned over books that could 'expose sensitive information'
August 24th, 2012
06:15 PM ET

Top commander concerned over books that could 'expose sensitive information'

The top U.S.military special operations officer is concerned that sensitive information could be released by former special operations troops looking to "advance their personal or professional agendas."

Adm. William McRaven, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, sent a blunt message late Thursday night to 63,000 special operations forces under his command, after the name of the anonymous author of an upcoming book on the Osama bin Laden raid was identified.

"I am becoming increasingly concerned about how former members of the special operations community are using their 'celebrity' status to advance their personal or professional agendas," McRaven said in the message obtained by CNN.

The identity of the Navy SEAL behind the much-anticipated firsthand account of the raid that killed bin Laden has been published by several news organizations. Although CNN has confirmed the name of the SEAL, the decision to not publish his identity honors a request from Pentagon officials who say the book "No Easy Day" could have dangerous repercussions.

The member of SEAL Team Six, who is now retired, wrote the book under the pseudonym Mark Owen. Officials say the manuscript was not vetted as required by the Pentagon, and members of the military are worried that identifying him could jeopardize colleagues and his family.

"While as retired or former service members, they are well within their rights to advocate for certain causes or write books about their adventures, it is disappointing when these actions either attempt to represent the broader SOF (Special Operations Forces) community, or expose sensitive information that could threaten the lives of their fellow warriors," McRaven said in the written statement.

The publisher says the book, which is expected to be released on September 11, 2012, provides a "blow-by-blow narrative of the assault" on bin Laden's compound in 2011.

McRaven also explained that if classified information is revealed in such publications, authors could face punishment.

"Every member of the Special Operations Community with a security clearance signed a nondisclosure agreement that was binding during and after service in the military. If the U.S. Special Operations Command finds that an active duty, retired or former service member violated that agreement and that exposure of information was detrimental to the safety of U.S. forces, then we will pursue every option available to hold members accountable, including criminal prosecution where appropriate," he said.

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.

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.

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. ClarkClurn

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    March 1, 2021 at 7:27 am | Reply
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    October 9, 2012 at 4:57 am | Reply
  4. :)

    This guy would look right at home in a bar on Castro St.

    August 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  5. Joe Six Pack

    If I took out OBL, I would tell everyone I met. I'd print up T-Shirts that said; "I'm that bad mamojama that did the thing". I'd never pay for a beer again for the rest of my life.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
    • lee s

      Delusions of grandeur are a sign of mental illness.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  6. Araminta

    Good Afternoon General,
    I don't look @ the news anymore until later in the day because of what I might find. Today you are it. I think you ought to come back to Washington real soon for a visit__It's burning. I now know what George must have felt like 200 years ago.

    How is it that everytime somebody from Special Op's has got an ax to grind, it's a Navy Seal? Tell all books, Political Action Committees making commercials crying like a baby about who's getting credit. With all due respect, this is ass backwards and upside down. You never see Delta Force or any of the other commando types doing it....Yeah, let me be the one to spit the first was coming anyway. I think you ought to drop them glamour boys off in Paris so they can work the run way. Plenty of attention there!

    Any lastly, please re-evaluate the need for recruitment films that give too much away. I saw an old-timer on C-Span wagging his finger in your face about it. Forgive him__I'm sure it all bubbled up underneath his skin and he couldn't contain himself.

    And now I'm going to read the paper.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  7. ludvig

    As a civilian employee of the military I believe I seem to recall signing a non-disclosure statement too.It seems prudent to let the Navy see what you wrote before you publish it if the info. had something to do with your employment or military service, of course the only thing I created was a Civil War Story so I didn't need to submit any of that material to the censors. As far as killing Bin Laden or not, by killing him you don't have to worry about terrorist taking over a school full of kids and saying they'll execute them unless Bin Laden is released, so I think Killing him was a great idea.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:12 am | Reply
  8. H. Addison

    Telling a positive story about out troops without endangering them is why I am reading the recently released e-book, 'bin Laden's Revenge' by S.P. Grogan. At least here we are reminded that al-Qaeda is still a dangerous threat to America...

    August 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply
    • Creampie

      Whenever I'm in the mood for absolute bullsh!t, I read the bible.

      August 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
      • Christian

        I'm sorry you don't read the Bible much. If you take the time to read it and understand its' content, you would see that as we downplay its' significance our society grows more immoral and weaker. Groups have been trying to take Jesus and God's law out of the lives of Americans. What do we have to show for it? An economy that is collapsing because of greed, increased homelessness, Number 29 in education ranking, Our moms and dads struggling, Our veterans being treated like they aren't worth anything. The Bible in every way teaches respect, wisdom, love, honesty, hard work hope and most importantly who is God and why we are special. To me that makes it worth reading any day.

        August 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  9. Midnight Wizard

    Whether or not it was a good idea to hit Osama Bin Laden (OBL) or not, was up to the Commander in Chief and the who ever over saw the operations with the branches of the military. I do not believe soldiers should be collecting profits from a raid that was an operation with a group or team of other soldiers, greed may be a huge factor. Whether you agree with the war or not, we are in one. Lets get things stabalized and bring our children home.

    August 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  10. Big Mike T

    Quietly professional until big money is offered.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  11. michaelfury

    August 27, 2012 at 7:40 am | Reply
  12. out of control

    This is not in line with the past events of military ops . All the he said she said comments are throwing intel & ops protocol in the limelight of stupidity .

    This is clearly pointing to divisions amongst the ranks which is not in the best interest of anyone , this all started with White House leaks many months ago .

    August 27, 2012 at 5:07 am | Reply
  13. PaxHominibus

    What are the powers that be afraid of? We now know that: there was an old man walking in the compound; they couldn't identify him positively as Bin Laden; but they thought it MIGHT be him and shot him anyway - then disposed of the body in the Ocean PDQ!
    We now know that the "firefight" cosisted of 2 shots?

    No wonder they don't want a BOOK about it! The SAS write books on their active service but they DON'T disclose sensitive info or data.

    August 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • Quigley

      Very well posted, PaxHominibus. How true that rings, too! It's quite dubious that that was the true Ossama bin Laden anyway since he suffered from nephritis years ago! The true bin Laden most likely died 10 years ago in the mountains of Tora Bora from kidney failure!

      August 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Reply
    • Joe Smith

      Oh, wow! Now I know the truth, because I've heard an idiot yammering without a shred of proof to back up anything he said.

      August 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Reply
      • ed gein

        The rest of the world knows that Osama died of kidney failure a decade ago.

        August 26, 2012 at 1:25 am |
      • The One

        Osama is alive. He lives on the moon with Hitler and Castro. Yea, Fidel is still alive too. And Kim Jong. They are paid assets who we let live on our secret moon base...

        August 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  14. saeed

    some one needs to put a bullet through that flat face use a laser sniper scope 45mm bullet boom boom boom.

    August 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Reply
    • Sodomite

      Wouldn't that be three bullets?

      August 25, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  15. Bangash

    It is probably a climax in the drama staged by the MIC to continue be-fooling American nation and justify the misuse of Americans tax payers money in the name of Americans security. How long they can fool will depend on the awareness of American as a nation about what is going on at home. Few hundred families are playing with the lives of billions of human beings in this universe. Thanx to the revolution in IT and soon whole world will know reality behind war on terror and then every one will spit on the faces of main culprits. History is full of such condemnation of the culprits therefore Americans too will be condemned for such large scale human beings either in the name of war on terror in Afghanistan or Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq. This Book too will earn a lot for MIC therefore making it more sensational may make it more profitable. S American as a nation can be fooled for their deep love with America however rest of the world may not buy and finally will stand the way the had stood against Hitlor or other murderers.

    August 25, 2012 at 4:43 am | Reply
    • usamare

      What you overlook is that the US is the country that gets called on to bring some measure of order whenever their are mass killings taking place, or the threat of war, or even territorial disputes. In the history of the world, what other country has successfully invaded an enemy with natural resources, and then not gotten any part of those resources? Or sent thousands of troops to protect a defenseless nations' natural resources just for the right to buy those resources at market prices? NONE. Those who want to murder and steal hate the US the most, and often proclaim their hatred while enjoying the security bought with American money and blood.

      August 25, 2012 at 10:20 am | Reply
      • Sodomite

        Plenty of "order" in Iraq and Afghanistan, right?

        August 25, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
      • usamare

        Compared to what your hero Saddam had been doing, absolutely.

        August 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
      • usamare

        and oh yeah, the Taliban government of Afghanistan executed a pretty deadly attack on the US that was going to get a response so they certainly couldn't have been surprised by that.

        August 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
      • Sodomite

        That neocon semen must taste mighty good, eh chickenhawk?

        August 26, 2012 at 1:29 am |
      • Bangash

        usamare Kindly study the books The Economic Hit Man (EHM) and rise of US empire, written by John Perkins who has served in NAS and his personal observation will make you realize and you will see the ugly face of all theses baby killers.

        August 26, 2012 at 2:51 am |
      • usamare

        I see, I missed the main point of your statement. I don't know if what you're aiming at is even possible, but I would LMAO if someone could get real changes from that high up.

        August 26, 2012 at 8:19 am |
      • art of light

        OMG what planet are you on!!! SHEEPLE like you are just as dangerous to lead us into WW3!!!! do you not read!! it has been made soooo clear that 911 was an inside job to kick start total world domination under the guise of "security" the US and British have enslaved-brutalized-and eradicated many a nation throu- out their whole history!! they supply arms for theses so called "threats" and this is common knowledge..I suggest you think for yourself..investigate and re evaluated your posotion as a citizen on planet earth if you dont wish to be a part ofthe total destruction and break down of the world as we know it!!!!!

        September 20, 2012 at 3:56 am |
  16. Jack

    How limited is the scope of that man's vision? And he was allowed to be a SEAL, yet he sells out his knowledge, his name, his friends, his family and his soul for something as trivial as a book deal? Punish him for having a small mind alone.

    August 25, 2012 at 3:34 am | Reply
    • Bangash

      Jack it is strange to see you are that much worried about the person having exposed national secrets for money. Jack either you are too much innocent, simple and blindly love your country or you are extreme fool for not seeing the real faces of your rulers. Your MIC has turned whole world into battle front just to earn money by selling weapons to the both warring factions. You on state level have been occupying poor states for money. S this is your national tragedy that deaths and destruction all over the world is your only way of earning money. So don't be surprised or angry at this SEAL man as he has acted according to his national spirit. Jack can your president win election without money?

      August 25, 2012 at 4:58 am | Reply
    • Sodomite

      Yes, punish him for being a capitalist in the kingdom of capitalism.

      August 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • PaxHominibus

      Jack – Your C-in-C gave details of the raid to HOLLYWOOD [to make an Obama propaganda film]!!! Obama was also the ONLY person to identify SEAL TEAM SIX as the ones involved in the raid!

      So srop your hideous self-righteous snivslling and get on with your life!

      August 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
      • Nick Alaga

        President Obama did not reveal anything that wasn't already known, but that's a nice blanket statement. Use of a "stealth" helicopter? Pakistani press already had those published by using their cell-phones. Announcing the mission too early? The top Pakistani General made a call to Admiral Mullen asking him what happened? The choice was made to announce the raid before the Pakistanis did. Seal Team Six revealed? Use your common sense, there are only two units trained for this, the Army's SPEC OPS, and Seal Team Six, so it was a no-brainer for anybody who follows SPECOPS that it was most likely SEAL Team Six. So all of your outrage is misplaced and mis-informed. President Obama did not reveal anything. An armchair detective could have figured all of this out.

        August 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  17. Hitler

    Romney/Ryan 2012!!!

    August 25, 2012 at 12:09 am | Reply
  18. Hitler

    What knowledge did bin Laden have? He was without resources, but a pen and paper, clown. You wanted him dead just like everyone else.

    August 25, 2012 at 12:08 am | Reply
  19. James Johnson

    Whoever decided to kill Osama Bin Laden is an extreme idiot...... The knowledge lost is unbelievable...... The War Planners of the United States should get another Gold Medal, for with their careful planning the United States will never win a conflict, only seek sidewalk justice................ This is as dumb, as Hitler ruining the careful planning of his professional soldiers (I personally hate everything Hitler stood for)............. Our forefathers who fought so hard in bringing a strong United States forward, must be rolling over in their graves.

    August 24, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Thank you, James. I couldn't have said it better!!!

      August 24, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
    • PaxHominibus

      Excellent post, James. You said it so much better than I could. Respect to you, Sir!

      August 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
    • Joe Smith

      Perhaps the raid would have been accomplished more effectively if YOU were the one there that night who had to decide whether to shoot or not. Then again, probably not.

      August 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Reply
      • lolatliars

        Ok Joe Smith, typical bone-headed comment that totally diverts from what James is saying. Congratulations on being a first class moron, now go blog about how great Romney is.

        August 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • General Lee

      american politics now only care about there self image. Not the people money and greed

      August 26, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • CalBM1

      The real idiot invaded iraq and killed saddam. granted he was a really a bad guy , but if he was alive Iran would not be close to a nuke . If iran and Suria get hit china and russa will hit back for them.if you live in NewYork you better move !

      August 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • soulcatcher

      Who says we couldn't clone him and have all his victims families beat OBL to death as many times as they want?

      August 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply

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