Our Opinion: No seal of approval for 'tell-all' maneuver
News Tribune editorial
Friday, September 7, 2012
“No Easy Day” makes us uneasy.
The book, subtitled “The Autobiography of a Navy SEAL,” promises on its cover “the firsthand account of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.” The book was written by former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, under the pseudonym Mark Owens.
Military officials have threatened legal action, contending the book contains classified information.
Rear Adm. Sean Pybus, who heads the Naval Special Warfare Command, alleges the book contains details of the mission. He said information about SEAL training and operations puts the troops and their families at risk.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said the author was required to submit the book for Pentagon screening before publication, an allegation the author’s attorney disputes.
Whether the book discloses classified information and jeopardizes troops is a legal matter for the courts to decide if a lawsuit is filed.
Our reaction is that an insider account of the military action is unseemly and inappropriate.
Pybus wrote in a letter to troops under his command: “For an elite force that should be humble and disciplined for life, we are certainly not appearing to be so.” He added: “We must immediately reconsider how we properly influence our people in and out of uniform NOT to seek inappropriate monetary, political, or celebrity profit from the service” with the SEALS.
The author breached a responsibility and an allegiance to his peers and his country.
He stooped to satisfying the lurid appetite of an audience interested in the orchestrated killing of a terrorist and enemy. A clandestine military mission is not appropriate fodder for a Hollywood-style, “tell-all” book.
Whether the author violated the law will be determined.
He already has violated the law the of common decency.