SEALs 'pulled off duty' over Bin Laden raid book

An infantryman with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) lugs shoulder-launched missiles while moving with his company to a security position, 25 November 2001, beginning Operation Swift Freedom. (AFP Photo / Joseph R Chenelly)
US Navy SEALs have reportedly been taken off active duty as a consequence of the leaked firsthand account “No Easy Day” about the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan which resulted in his death.

­The entire command of SEAL Team Six, which carried out the operation, has likely been told to stand down temporarily, according to former SEAL Brandon Webb.

He was one of the authors, Special Operations veterans, who have posted their own e-book response “No Easy Op: The Unclassified Analysis of the Book Detailing the Killing of OBL (Osama Bin Laden)”. The report came one day before the release of the No Easy Day account and examines its version of events, the motives of the author and the consequences of him publishing the book.

“We are already aware of several operators at SEAL Team Six who have been pulled from regular deployment cycles in order to deal with the aftermath of No Easy Day,’ the UK’s Daily Mail quotes Webb as writing in the e-book response to the controversial account.

He also adds that the book, set to be made public on Tuesday, September 4, has already caused quite a storm among the military.

“In our opinion the whole command will be on the bench as well because the consequences of this are so serious,” he states.

Most of the authors, however, are convinced that while the “reading public will get their dose of reality,” the most confidential details of the raid simply won’t be found in No Easy Day.

“No Easy Day is nothing more than a well-executed marketing strategy that will make the author and publisher tens of millions of dollars overnight,” the US news website The Daily Beast quotes the response authors as stating.

Cover art for "No Easy Day" by Mark Owen/Dutton Publishing
Cover art for "No Easy Day" by Mark Owen/Dutton Publishing

In August, the US Defense Department threatened to pursue “all remedies legally available” against the author. The Pentagon said the author, Mark Owen – who has been identified as former Navy SEAL Mark Bissonnette – breached nondisclosure agreements.

But the Special Operations veterans are sure that since the general counsel of the Department of Defense has not yet pointed out specific disclosures, it “likely means, they aren’t there.”

Before the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden was undertaken, the White House, Pentagon, and CIA reportedly had a “single, agreed-upon narrative that would be sold to the public,” the e-book presumes.

”With the killing of OBL came a huge opportunity for political gain and they were insistent that the PR spin make Obama look powerful and decisive. In an attempt to preserve the original story, the White House allegedly “leaked” information to author Nicholas Schmidle at The New Yorker, giving him enough meat to write a “sweeping narrative with great scenes that sound like clichés straight out of a Jerry Bruckheimer production,” cites The Daily Beast.

“Now that No Easy Day is being released, the public will likely become attached to this story.” It will become “the established narrative on the raid, the only truth.”

The authors however warn that Bissonnette is likely to face personal consequences.

“Members of the Special Operations community are well known for eating their own,” the e-book says.

“It is likely that Bissonnette will be not only ridiculed and criticized, but ostracized from the military completely: Some of these authors are considered personae non grata by their former units: members are instructed to never talk to the author and the author is never to be allowed to participate in unit functions again.”