SEAL who wrote bin Laden raid tell-all forced to give all proceeds to government

Story highlights

  • Former SEAL Team Six member Matthew Bissonnette will have to turn over all proceeds from best-selling book
  • US government said Bissonnette had failed to get the appropriate approval from the Defense Department

Washington (CNN)Matthew Bissonnette, the former Navy SEAL who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and wrote a tell-all book about it, has agreed to pay the US government all past and future proceeds from the best-seller after the Department of Justice said he failed to have a draft reviewed by the government.

"Mr. Bissonnette has agreed to pay the United States all of his past and future proceeds from the publication of 'No Easy Day,'" Department of Justice spokesperson Nicole Navas said in a statement to CNN.
    The US government brought a civil action against Bissonnette for "breach of contract" by violating a non-disclosure agreement that required him to "submit to the Government for pre-publication security review any written manuscript containing or relating to classified information," according to the official complaint.
    The complaint does not accuse Bissonnette, a former U.S. Navy SEAL chief petty officer and member of the elite SEAL Team Six, of revealing classified information but does fault him for failing to go through the appropriate clearing process. It also says that he similarly failed to get approval for a series of slides that he used in a leadership presentation.
    This image courtesy of publisher Dutton, a member of Penguin Group USA, show the cover of the upcoming book "No Easy Day, " the first eye witness account by one of the US Navy SEALs in the unit that killed Osama bin Laden. The scheduled publication date is September 11, 2012. Dutton said that "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account Of The Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden" is written by one of the SEALs who entered the al Qaeda founder's hideout in May 2011 "and was present at his death." The writer, identified by the pseudonym Mark Owen, is said to have left the military and is the veteran of 13 consecutive combat deployments, culminating with the Operation Neptune Spear in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The book is co-written with Kevin Maurer, a US journalist. In the book, Owen says, he wants "to set the record straight about one of the most important missions in US military history. 'No Easy Day' is the story of 'the guys, ' the human toll we pay, and the sacrifices we make to do this dirty job."
    Bissonnette's lawyer, Robert Luskin, told CNN in January that a government investigation into improper disclosure of classified information by Bissonnette "was closed in August 2015 with a declination."
    He did not return a request for comment about the latest settlement.
    Bissonnette in a 2014 interview with The Daily Beast said it was a mistake to not seek the pre-publication security review and blamed the misstep on bad legal advice he had received, adding that he was pursuing legal action against the lawyer who had advised him.
    "After the initial accusations of me leaking all that classified stuff ... they found nothing," Bissonnette told The Daily Beast in a story Friday. "They were just upset with me and wanted to get me one way or another. For four years, they looked into every little thing. Now ... one signature and it all goes away."
    The Daily Beast reported the settlement, including legal fees, totals over $7 million.