'No Easy Day' Publication Date Pushed Forward As Author Faces Government Investigations And Death Threats

'No Easy Day' by Mark Owen

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?

Image of No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy Seal: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden
Author: Mark Owen, Kevin Maurer
Price: $8.00
Publisher: DUTTON Books (2012)
Binding: Hardcover, 316 pages
Kimberly Turner

News by Kimberly Turner

Kimberly Turner is an internet entrepreneur, DJ, editor, beekeeper, linguist, traveler, and writer. This either makes her exceptionally well-rounded or slightly crazy; it’s hard to say which. She spent a decade as a journalist and magazine editor in Australia and the U.S. and is now working (very, very slowly) on her first novel. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two cats, ten fish, and roughly 60,000 bees.

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Comments

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 29, 2012 - 2:18pm

Can someone explain to me why in the hell they thought it would be a good idea to release his name? That's the most exploitave ploy for ratings I've ever seen -- at the expense of his safety, they apparently gave no thought to the consequences other than their own benefits. Pathetic.

Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy's picture
Pretty Spry for... from I'd prefer it if you didn't know. So would you, only you don't know it. is reading whatever he makes time for this week August 29, 2012 - 4:55pm

Can someone explain to me why in the hell they thought it would be a good idea to release his name? That's the most exploitave ploy for ratings I've ever seen -- at the expense of his safety, they apparently gave no thought to the consequences other than their own benefits. Pathetic. 

This.

Was Fox News wrong to reveal his identity? Absolutely.

Jeremy Robert Plante's picture
Jeremy Robert Plante from Calgary, Alberta Canada is reading Several books a month. Listing them would mean numerous updates. August 29, 2012 - 4:56pm

I would happily let Al Qaida send me death threats if it caused one less person to purchase or read "50 Shades of Grey".

eirikodin's picture
eirikodin from Auburn, NY is reading Mediterranean Caper by Clive Cussler August 29, 2012 - 7:19pm

Why couldn't they skew his identity like everything else they report.  This had to be the one time they were completely honest fair and balanced.  WTF.  Thanks for putting a vet in danger guys.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 30, 2012 - 12:35am

Jesus...I can't even be snarky about what Fox News did. What a bunch of assholes.

Jairo Arana's picture
Jairo Arana is reading Perdido Street Station by China Mielville and The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu August 30, 2012 - 7:06am

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... 

This man has risked his life. To reveal his identity and put his life in danger is huge deservice after all the many times he's risked his life. See, this is why I don't watch Fox news. Nothing but a bunch of air-headed walking rectums.

Or, to put it simply, like SparrowStark said:

What a bunch of assholes.

Reminds of the time Karl Rove outed a CIA agent just because her husband, a U.S. ambassador, said there was no credible evidence of radioactive elements in a country in Africa. Think it was Kenya, but I'm not sure.

Outing this man's name, putting his life in danger, is a slap in the face to all U.S. veterans.

Oh, and he was not the only one to talk about the operation against Bin Laden. I saw a show on the History Channel, where President Obama talks about it, as did other U.S. government officials, on that show.

Even magazines have published articles on the operation.

edsikov's picture
edsikov from New York by way of Natrona Hts PA is reading absolutely nothing August 30, 2012 - 7:11am

While I think it's wrong to release the author's name - everyone has the right to a pseudonym - I must say I have little respect for pseudonyms, especially when the author is supposedly fearless in every other respect. I used a pseudonym myself back in the 90s when I was writing porn video reviews; I thought it might hurt my writing career to write for INCHES magazine under my own name. I think in retrospect it would have had no effect at all, and I regret the cowardice I demonstrated by hiding under a fake name. If the author's name is fake with this book, it only makes me wonder what else is.

Moreover, it seems to me to be borderline traitor-like and definitely insubordinate to defy not only the Seals' code of silence but also to undermine one's commander-in-chief. One simply doesn't.

My questions are: is he hot? Are there shirtless pictures yet? If so, where may I find them?

--Ed

Jairo Arana's picture
Jairo Arana is reading Perdido Street Station by China Mielville and The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu August 30, 2012 - 7:28am

... helped take down Bin Laden, ended the era of Fifty Shades of Grey,

Hahaha! That was just awesome! 

I had to quote that. Couldn't help it.

Never read Fifty Shades of Grey. Don't really want to, either, so I can't give an opinion about that book, but, I see a lot of people are just tired of that book. FSoG fatigue.

I think Fox News was wrong in outing him.

And I do want to read No Easy Day.

Hey, we watched, in horror, while the World Trade Center collapsed, live on television. People died that day. Families and friends lost loved ones. 

Why shouldn't we be able to read this book?

I would happily let Al Qaida send me death threats if it caused one less person to purchase or read "50 Shades of Grey".

@Jeremy Rober Plante: Dude, careful what you wish for, man. Salman Rushdie, man. The Satanic Verses. Hiding because of a fatwah ordered against him by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Hiding for years. Yikes!

...if it caused one less person to purchase or read "50 Shades of Grey". 

Wow. Was that book really that bad?

I take it back. Yes, yes... maybe "death threats from al Qaeda if it caused one less person to purchase or read 50 Shades of Grey" wouldn't be so bad at all. Hahaha!

You know what would be even better? If 50 Shades of Grey is really that bad, maybe...what if we forced al Qaeda to read it? And make them write a book report to make sure they read it. That'd be awesome! hahaha!

 

Jairo Arana's picture
Jairo Arana is reading Perdido Street Station by China Mielville and The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu August 30, 2012 - 7:44am

Moreover, it seems to me to be borderline traitor-like and definitely insubordinate to defy not only the Seals' code of silence but also to undermine one's commander-in-chief.

@edsIkov: Good point. But let's not forget, though, the Commander-In-Chief did talk about the operation. I saw it on The History Channel. Maybe the gist of the question is this: Did he reveal too much which may compromise future operations. "Hey, look, al Qaeda! This is how we hunt you down." So, yes. Good point. As for shirtless pictures and where can you find them. Uhm... uh...Photos of him enjoying Spring Break? Wait! I know where you might find them! Pictures of him hanging out and streaking with Prince Harry in Vegas! Yeah, babyyy... whatever happens in Vegas... uhm... like...no longer stays in Vegas? Great. Nice going, Prince Harry! Hahaha! 

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. August 30, 2012 - 11:30am

Why would he risk not giving a pre-publication print to the government like he is supposed to?  Do they get held up for long amounts of time?  

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 31, 2012 - 11:02am

@Howie He included confidential material, which is illegal. They did get a copy of the book, but pretty late in the game, and they're threatening him with lawsuits now for disclosing information that's classified. My guess is that he knew he was doing something illegal and didn't want that to stop his book from getting published.

@Ed There's no way you can call a man like this cowardly for not revealing his name. Writing porn reviews isn't going to get a bounty put on your head. There's a reason the government didn't release their names -- this is just a guess, but maybe because they killed the symbol for what Al Qaeda stands for? You know, that's probably a big deal to some people. Just a guess, though.

edsikov's picture
edsikov from New York by way of Natrona Hts PA is reading absolutely nothing September 1, 2012 - 7:47am

There is an enormous difference between "the government" not releasing "their" names and writing a book under a pseudonym - a book that reveals classified information, an act that happens to be against the law.  In fact, there is no comparison at all.  

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks September 1, 2012 - 1:52pm

I literally have no idea where you came up with that as a rebuttal to my comment.

First of all, the reason behind not releasing the names of the men involved and writing a book under a psuedonym are the same: people want to fucking kill these men for what they did. So what's the difference, exactly?

Second, writing under a psuedonym changes absolutely nothing when it comes to getting his book vetted. The government already knows his name, what it's published under doesn't change the fact that they still need to see a copy of it -- and it wouldn't stop them from getting one. Are you saying he hid his name so he wouldn't be charged? That's so ridiculous that I don't know where to start.

edsikov's picture
edsikov from New York by way of Natrona Hts PA is reading absolutely nothing September 2, 2012 - 7:53am

Other than to point out to you that your use of the word "literally" is completely wrong, I have nothing more to say.