Pentagon Says Navy SEAL Author Broke Secrecy Contract

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 7 2012 11:20 AM

Here's the Non-Disclosure Pledge Navy SEALs Have to Sign

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Navy SEALS await a night mission to capture Iraqi insurgent leaders July 27, 2007 near Fallujah, Iraq

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

The Pentagon says that former Navy SEAL who wrote a book about the Osama Bin Laden raid violated a secrecy agreement with the U.S. government, and officials say they have the document to prove it.

While the military has so far declined to make the non-disclosure agreement it says No Easy Day author Matt Bissonnette signed public, the Pentagon gave Reuters a copy of what it says was an identical copy of the one he had to sign as a SEAL.

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You can view the document in full here. The specific language that the military is pointing to is this passage:

"I understand and agree that my obligation to submit such preparations for review applies during the course of my access to [Sensitive Compartmented Information] and thereafter, and I agree to make any required submissions prior to discussing the preparation with, or showing it to, anyone who is not authorized to have access to SCI.  I further agree that I will not disclose the contents of such preparation to any person not authorized to have access to SCI until I have received written authorization from the Department or Agency that last authorized my access to SCI that such disclosure is permitted."
Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Tood Breasseale told Reuters that Bissonnette—who wrote under the pen name of Mark Owen— violated the agreement even before his book was published this week because he share the original manuscript with his publisher and a lawyer outside of the government. The way the Pentagon sees it, that decision suggests that Bissonnette must have believed his book contained classified material.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon specifically claimed for the first time that the book does contain classified information, but wouldn't elaborate.