SEAL who wrote bin Laden raid tell-all forced to give all proceeds to government

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The much-anticipated memoir of a Navy SEAL who helped kill Osama bin Laden hits bookshelves Tuesday, September 4, 2012, to an eager audience whose pre-orders have already put the book at No. 1 on Amazon's bestseller list for two weeks. "Mark Owen," is the pen name of the book's author Matt Bissonnette.

WASHINGTON — Matthew Bissonnette, the former Navy SEAL who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and wrote a tell-all book about it, has agreed to pay the US government all past and future proceeds from the best-seller after the Department of Justice said he failed to have a draft reviewed by the government.

“Mr. Bissonnette has agreed to pay the United States all of his past and future proceeds from the publication of ‘No Easy Day,'” Department of Justice spokesperson Nicole Navas said in a statement to CNN.

The US government brought a civil action against Bissonnette for “breach of contract” by violating a non-disclosure agreement that required him to “submit to the Government for pre-publication security review any written manuscript containing or relating to classified information,” according to the official complaint.

The complaint does not accuse Bissonnette, a former U.S. Navy SEAL chief petty officer and member of the elite SEAL Team Six, of revealing classified information but does fault him for failing to go through the appropriate clearing process. It also says that he similarly failed to get approval for a series of slides that he used in a leadership presentation.

Bissonnette’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, told CNN in January that a government investigation into improper disclosure of classified information by Bissonnette “was closed in August 2015 with a declination.”

He did not return a request for comment about the latest settlement.

Bissonnette in a 2014 interview with The Daily Beast said it was a mistake to not seek the pre-publication security review and blamed the misstep on bad legal advice he had received, adding that he was pursuing legal action against the lawyer who had advised him.

“After the initial accusations of me leaking all that classified stuff … they found nothing,” Bissonnette told The Daily Beast in a story Friday. “They were just upset with me and wanted to get me one way or another. For four years, they looked into every little thing. Now … one signature and it all goes away.”

The Daily Beast reported the settlement, including legal fees, totals over $7 million.