The New York Times reported yesterday that a U.S. Navy SEAL who led the special operations team that raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan last year has written a book describing the events in detail. The existence of the book, which is titled “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden,” has been a “closely held secret” within Penguin, the publishing house that is planning to release it next month on Sept. 11, and the SEAL is writing anonymously under the pseudonym Mark Owen.
But neither the author, nor Penguin, submitted the book to U.S. government officials for review, a normal process for publications divulging such highly classified information:
“As far as we can determine, this book was not submitted for pre-publication review,” said CIA spokesman Preston Golson.
Pentagon spokesman George Little said he was “unaware that anyone in the department has reviewed it.”
White House officials said they knew nothing of the book.
“We learned about this book today from press reports,” said Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council. “We haven’t reviewed it and don’t know what it says.”
The book’s publication could reignite the controversy surrounding national security leaks and the Washington Post notes that it’s unclear at this point “whether the CIA or Pentagon would take legal steps against the author or attempt to stop publication.”
However, Penguin is expecting the book to be a top seller and retailers agree. “This sort of book is too often what I call a F.I.P., flash in the pan, with good sales for a week or so after the initial publicity,” a book seller in Denver told the Times. “But this one may have legs into the holidays.”