The story has been running for some time now, giving author Matt Bissonnette a wealth of free publicity that will see his book at the top of the New York Times bestsellers.
No Easy Day was laid down on September 4, but the Pentagon continues to make a great deal of noise about classified information and proper vetting. The publisher had pushed back the release date when the complaints first aired, but nothing concrete was done to block publication.
According to the Pentagon, Mr. Bissonnette's first-hand account of his action in a remote Pakistan village has violated his SEAL oath of secrecy. His book details the mission to take down Bin Laden, and he claims it is a blow-by-blow account, bringing the reader along with the SEAL team as they avenged the murder of over three thousand innocent people.
Because it was a mission cloaked in secrecy, the Pentagon has made it known that they are of the opinion that their experts should have had a first look at the manuscript. It was up to them to determine if classified information was inserted into the pages.
Talk, but no action.
You'd think that the Pentagon is doing pre-release publicity for the book, as if they want to repay Mr. Bissonnette for his bravery by ginning up sales.
Through their spokesman, the Pentagon has made it known that they believe there is secret stuff inside the book, since the author went and hired an attorney versed in special ops to look over the manuscript. If there were no secrets, the reasoning goes, why pay for an attorney to look for them?
What more could you ask for as an author?
The military is shouting from the rooftops that your book is all that. No need to trust the author's assertions that he was there and this is how it went down. The Pentagon has, in essence, verified his claim.
In its most recent blast of book promotion, the Pentagon is threatening to take Mr. Bissonnette to court. They sent a strongly worded letter to Penguin, owner of the Dutton imprint that published the book, but as far as Mr. Bissonnette's attorney is concerned, he was not required to submit his manuscript to the Pentagon for review. End of story. Both hardcover and e-book.
While the reading public is snapping up copies, Penguin is anticipating a high sales volume and a sell through. Mr. Bissonnette is counting up his royalties and tabulating the expense of a good defense attorney. The Pentagon is promoting his book by hammering it, but the Pentagon could still try to sue him for violating his SEAL non-disclosure agreement.
So what are they waiting for?