WASHINGTON—A former Navy SEAL’s insider account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden contains classified information, the Pentagon said Tuesday, and the admiral who heads the Naval Special Warfare Command said details in the book may provide enemies with dangerous insight into their secretive operations.
Rear Adm. Sean Pybus told his force Tuesday that “hawking details about a mission” and selling other details of SEAL training and operations puts the force and their families at risk.
“For an elite force that should be humble and disciplined for life, we are certainly not appearing to be so,” Pybus wrote in a letter to the roughly 8,000 troops under his command. “We owe our chain of command much better than this.”
The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.
At the Pentagon, press secretary George Little said that an official review of the book, “No Easy Day,” determined that it reveals what he called “sensitive and classified” information. He was not more specific but said the author was required to submit the book to the Pentagon before publication for a formal review of potential disclosures of such information.
And he told reporters during a briefing that the Pentagon is still reviewing what legal options should be taken against the author.
Pybus, in his letter, was more direct, saying that, “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 their service” with the SEALS.
“We all have much to gain or lose,” he said. “In the weeks ahead, we will be taking actions to meet this challenge, and I appreciate your leadership and support of our community in this effort.”
A lawyer for author Matt Bissonnette, who wrote under the pseudonym Mark Owen, has disputed that he was legally obliged to have the book screened before publication.
Little would not say what damage may result from the book’s revelations and he declined to point to any specific portions of the book that contain material that would be considered a violation and a release of classified information.
Little said the Pentagon has not taken steps to stop the book from being sold on military installations.