* U.S. government agencies say they didn't vet book
* Majority of proceeds will go to charity - publisher
By Tabassum Zakaria and Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON, Aug 22 The U.S. government was
surprised by the news that a Navy SEAL who participated in the
raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan has written a
book about the operation in which the al Qaeda leader was
killed, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
"No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that
Killed Osama Bin Laden" was written by a Navy SEAL under the
pseudonym Mark Owen with co-author Kevin Maurer and is to be
released next month on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
It was not vetted by government agencies to ensure that no
secrets were revealed.
"The book was vetted by a former special operations
attorney. He vetted it for tactical, technical, and procedural
information as well as information that could be considered
classified by compilation and found it to be without risk to
national security," Christine Ball, a spokeswoman for the
publisher, Dutton, told Reuters.
The book will be published at a time when Washington has
been roiled by controversy over national security leaks ahead of
the Nov. 6 presidential election.
Republicans have charged that President Barack Obama's
administration has engaged in selective leaks to bolster the
Democrat's national security credentials. The White House denies
those accusations and says it takes leaks of classified
In the wake of Congressional criticism, the administration
assigned federal prosecutors in Baltimore and Washington to
conduct criminal investigations into leaks related to an
undercover counter-terrorism investigation in Yemen and alleged
U.S. and Israeli cyber-warfare against Iran's nuclear program.
But the coming book on the bin Laden raid appeared to catch
officials off guard.
"We learned about this book today from press reports. We
haven't reviewed it and don't know what it says," White House
spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
The Pentagon said it hadn't vetted the book or helped
provide information to the authors. There are at least two
Pentagon regulations requiring the Defense Department review
writings by retired troops that contain sensitive material.
"This book came as a surprise to folks at the Pentagon," a
senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said. "Naturally, we'll be interested to read the book when it
is made available."
CIA spokesman Preston Golson said: "As far as we can
determine, this book was not submitted for pre-publication
'TIME TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT'
Dutton, which is a member of the Penguin Group (USA), said
the Navy SEAL author's experience culminated with "Operation
Neptune Spear" in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he led one of the
assault teams on bin Laden's compound and was "one of the first
men through the door on the third floor of the terrorist
leader's hideout and was present at his death."
The Navy SEAL is described as a former member of the U.S.
Special Warfare Development Group, commonly known as SEAL Team
Six, who was involved in hundreds of missions around the world.
His name and the names of the other SEALs mentioned in the
book were changed for security reasons, the publisher said. The
majority of the proceeds from the book will go to charities that
support families of fallen Navy SEALs, the publisher said.
"It is time to set the record straight about one of the most
important missions in U.S. military history," the Navy SEAL
author said in the book, according to the publisher's statement.
"'No Easy Day' is the story of 'the guys,' the human toll we
pay, and the sacrifices we make to do this dirty job."
Congressional Republicans criticized the administration for
granting generous access to policymakers and some intelligence
and defense personnel to a Hollywood team preparing a film on
the bin Laden raid for release later this year.
The fact that U.S. officials said the Obama administration
was unaware of the book about the raid until Wednesday suggests
it will be difficult for Obama critics to attack him over the