Former Navy SEAL Could Face Charges Over Bin Laden Raid Book

Matt Bissonnette's account of the SEAL Team 6 raid that killed Osama bin Laden has faced plenty of controversy. Now he could face criminal charges.
Posted at 11:36 AM, Oct 31, 2014

One of the Navy SEALs who helped kill arguably the most infamous terrorist in a generation might soon face criminal charges.

The New York Times confirmed through government officials and Matt Bissonnette's attorney he's being investigated.

The former SEAL used the pen name Mark Owen when he wrote "No Easy Day" detailing the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The Times reports Bissonnette's attorney says feds are focused on whether he revealed classified information in his book, but others close to the investigation told the Times' reporters feds are looking into paid speeches Bissonnette has given since his rise to fame.

The story of bin Laden's death at his secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011 was immediately guaranteed to earn millions for whoever told it. And that's partially why, in government and military circles, the story has been so controversial. (Video via CBS)

The former head of the CIA encouraged some members of the SEAL Team 6 unit that killed bin Laden to work with producers of the film "Zero Dark Thirty" — a film that grossed more than $95 million.

Bissonnette rushed his book to publication in 2012 without vetting it for classified information through the Pentagon. A big reason he likely did that was to beat another author's account to the shelves.

Legendary for both their training and their mission results, several SEALs have been angered by the publicity and profits Bissonnette and others sought out. Many SEALs who've performed top-secret missions consider that secrecy among their most important principles. (Video via U.S. Navy)

A retired Navy captain also told the Times high-level officials generally disclose policy and strategy, but when ground-level personnel "come out and write a book, whether you mean to or not, you're going to reveal tactics, techniques and procedures."

But Bissonnette argued "Zero Dark Thirty," the competing book and an article published in The New Yorker in 2011 all revealed essentially the same details he did without repercussions.

His attorney says he's hopeful a settlement can be negotiated with the feds instead of prosecutors filing criminal charges.

Bissonnette also has a new book coming out in less than two weeks in which he discusses more of his time as a SEAL. "No Hero" is set for release Nov. 10.

This video includes images from Getty Images.