'No Easy Day' Publication Date Pushed Forward As Author Faces Government Investigations And Death Threats
An author with a secret identity, CIA and Department of Defense investigations, death threats from al Qaeda, rumors of a Spielberg adaptation... evidently these are the things a book needs to finally knock Fifty Shades off its pedestal. No Easy Day, a Navy SEAL's first-hand account of the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, has climbed to the top spot on both Barnes & Noble and Amazon's bestseller lists so quickly that its publisher has moved the book's release date from September 11 to September 4 and upped the first print run from 300,000 to 575,000. Though the book isn't even out, the internet exploded this week with talk of a Steven Spielberg adaptation, but Spielberg denies the rumors.
Penguin's Dutton imprint and author/Navy SEAL Mark Owen (a pseudonym) first came under fire for failing to provide the government with a pre-publication manuscript for review, in violation of a Department of Defense regulation that requires these sorts of things to be vetted before publication. The Pentagon and CIA are now reviewing the 336-page book, and groups such as the right-leaning Special Operations OPSEC are trying to block its publication until after the review is complete. Dutton spokesperson Christine Ball says the book contains no classified information; if she is wrong, the author could face hefty criminal charges.
But criminal charges might be the least of his worries. "Owen" used a pen name for safety reasons and planned to do all promotional appearances using a voice modifier and disguise; that plan lasted about one day. Fox News quickly identified the author as Matt Bissonnette, a 36-year-old Navy SEAL who has earned five Bronze Stars and one Purple Heart, served thirteen combat deployments since the 9/11 attacks, assisted in the rescue of the American captain kidnapped by Somali pirates in 2009, helped take down Bin Laden, ended the era of Fifty Shades of Grey, and just generally proven himself to be a badass. Dutton won't confirm his identity, but Bissonnette's photo, name, and age are plastered across al Qaeda online forums with menacing comments calling for his death and "destruction." Cyber security expert Jeffrey Carr says the author will "become the poster child for recruitment and assassination."
Though many of his fellow SEALs have been unimpressed with his decision to publish the account, "Owen" still plans to donate proceeds from No Easy Day to charities benefiting the families of fallen Navy SEALs. The author says, "My hope is that it gives my fellow Americans a glimpse into how much of an honor it is to serve our country. It is written with respect for my fellow service members while adhering to my strict desire not to disclose confidential or sensitive information that would compromise national security in any way."
Do you think writing No Easy Day was worth the risk? Was Fox News wrong to reveal his identity? Are you interested in reading it?
To leave a comment