At a press conference, Department of Defense Press Secretary George Little told reporters “sensitive and classified information is contained in the book,” adding that the author’s decision to circumvent the DoD’s pre-publication review process was the “height of irresponsibility.”
Secretary Little offered no details as to what sensitive material was released, but said that the book raised “serious concerns” and represented a “material breach of nondisclosure agreements that were signed by the author of this book.”
“This is a solemn obligation,” Little said. “And the author in this case elected not to abide by his legal obligations. And that’s disheartening and, frankly, is something that we’re taking a very close look at.”
Little wasn’t the only top official to criticize Bissonnette’s book. In an internal message titled, “The Cost of Disclosure,” Real Admiral Sean Pybus, the head of Naval Special Warfare Command, lambasted former SEALs for breaking the code of silence.
“We do NOT advertise the nature of our work, NOR do we seek recognition for our actions,” Pybus wrote in the memo.
“Today, we find former SEALs headlining positions in a Presidential campaign; hawking details about a mission against Enemy Number 1; and generally selling other aspects of NSW training and operations,” he continued.
“For an Elite Force that should be humble and disciplined for life, we are certainly not appearing to be so,” Pybus concluded.
In response to the allegations that Bissonnette acted irresponsibly and broke the military’s nondisclosure pact, Bissonnette’s lawyer said the author “sought legal advice about his responsibilities before agreeing to publish his book and scrupulously reviewed the work to ensure that it did not disclose any material that would breach his agreements or put his former comrades at risk.”
Ultimately the decision to press charges or to pursue legal action against the former SEAL Team Six operative falls to the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder. Thus far, there’s been no comment from DOJ officials on the matter.
It may be a case where the DOJ waits to see what happens, as Secretary Little suggested when asked to assess the damage the book has done to the military.
“It may, frankly, be too early to tell. The book hasn’t been widely distributed yet, but we’ll see,” he cautioned.
While the book’s status as a viable threat to military secrets remains uncertain, what is clear is that all the attention it has garnered has made it a bestseller.
According to Publisher’s Weekly, the plan was to original release 300,000 copies of the book, but after the media firestorm the book created, the book’s publisher ramped up that number to 575,000 and moved up the release date from Sept. 11 to Sept. 4.
And thanks to pre-orders, the book has been No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list for the past two weeks, even outselling the mega-hit “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
It should be noted that the majority of the book’s proceeds go to the families of fallen and wounded veterans. So putting aside all the controversy, it may be worth picking up a copy — if you haven’t already. (Photo Credit: Bloomberg News)