"No Easy Day," written by an ex-Navy SEAL under the pseudonym of Mark Owen, has launched a political firestorm with the Pentagon and Secretary of Defense verbalizing threats without offering evidence.
"No Easy Day" was written by one of the SEAL Team 6 members who killed Osama bin Laden. He reportedly was the second man in a stack going up the stairs to bin Laden's top-floor suite and saw the point man shoot the villainous terrorist once in the head when bin Laden popped his head out a doorway. The author and another SEAL fired multiple shots into bin Laden's still moving body after he was down.
The author reports he took identification photos of the terrorist leader's bullet-riddled body after washing blood from the murderer's face and was present when the planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was identified as bin Laden, whose attacks left more than 3,000 dead on U.S. soil in the worst attack since Pearl Harbor.
The author's recount of the 30-plus minute assault on the terrorist's compound in Pakistan defers from the "official" account released by the Pentagon following the successful mission that had been in the planning stages for weeks and easily could have failed after one of the Blackhawks carrying one of the assault teams crashed in the courtyard inside the walled compound.
The government is quick to point out the author signed a confidentiality pledge when he joined the SEALs and he violated that agreement by writing a published book without sending it through the Pentagon for vetting. The government alleges the book threatens the security of the United States and its elite covert teams because it discloses "classified" information but never indicates what those disclosures could be, which only reminds me of the government maintaining loudly and clearly that it had proof Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was preparing to use them. As we know now the government never had any "proof," which is why that "proof" was never shown.
Did the author break the so-called Code of Silence of covert forces? Probably!
Did the author divulge classified information? Not in his opinion or during his extended interview on CBS "60 Minutes."
Did the author violate his non-disclosure agreement? Probably!
The author repeatedly has said he wanted the unabridged facts of the amazing operation revealed to demonstrate the skill, dedication and intensity of the SEALs, the Army Blackhawk pilots and the mission itself. He also has said a portion of the proceeds of the book, although he hasn't said how much, will go to the fund for returning wounded warriors.
If the government is concerned with "classified" information being revealed or "national security questions" being raised, it should cease rattling its saber and file charges, but that won't happen because then the public might really find out what happened and why it took the government 10 years to find the most wanted man in the world and terminate him.
1. The deadline for entering this year's News and Sentinel Cookbook Contest is Monday. The rules for entering the contest, which has a $500 gift card from Foodland for its winner, have repeatedly been published in The News and Sentinel and can be found online in my column of last Sunday.
2. The Concert Band and Soldiers' Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band will perform a free concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Parkersburg High School Field House. The performance is sponsored by The News and Sentinel with the support of PHS and because of the large seating capacity in the field house no tickets are needed. Students from the PHS band and PHS choir have been offered the opportunity to perform with the Field Band. Let's fill the field house!
Contact Jim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org