August 30th, 2012
11:48 AM ET

Buzz ramps up over SEAL's bin Laden book

It’s already No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Like little kids with the latest Harry Potter sequel, Washington and the rest of the world will be eagerly thumbing through “No Easy Day” when it hits bookshelves Tuesday. The memoir of a Navy SEAL who helped kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011 purports to tell the full story of how the globe’s most-wanted terrorist met his end.

Mentions of the book's author spiked on Twitter on Thursday morning, as did the term "Navy SEAL book." About 4,500 mentions were made by mid-morning. The book was mentioned more than 8,000 times on August 22, when news broke of its release.

Carl Carver tweeted, "This sort of thing is NOT healing relations in Middle East, predicted as the starting point of WWIII !"

"It seems like once a year since I graduated college I get super excited for a book release, this year No Easy Day by Mark Owen is that book," Drake Stahr tweeted.

The RangerUp fan page on Facebook, a popular spot for military folks, had a range of comments.

One commenter said: "If the POTUS (President of the United States) hadn't spilled what he did I would say that the book should not have been written. Since he did blab and is having a movie made about it, I think it needs to be told, but in a way that does not compromise SEAL Team 6...Looking forward to the book."

"None of the details of that op should have ever been released, nor should any additional details be released," another poster wrote. "We DO NOT have a need to know. Period. Loose lips sink ships and get good men killed. And frankly, I'm tired of watching the body count rise."

Publisher Dutton had originally planned to release 300,000 copies, but after fevered hype in media and on social networks this week, it increased that to 575,000 copies, according to the latest from Publisher's Weekly.

Despite these numbers, Spielberg won't be doing a movie. But audiences wanting to see bin Laden get it on the big screen will get their wish around Christmas, when "Hurt Locker" director Kathryn Bigelow releases her take on the raid in “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Still, the drama is there. Spoiler alert: Reviews by the few who managed to obtain the book, including CNN’s terror analyst Peter Bergen, are that details jibe mostly with what was initially reported.

Bergen said "No Easy Day" is far more credible than other recent titles about raid.

Still, readers at Pentagon and the CIA at just now starting to comb through the book to make sure it doesn’t give away any sensitive sources or operational techniques. The publication of “No Easy Day” was apparently a surprise to top brass.

When Dutton announced that the book was coming out, it gave the SEAL's pen name as “Mark Owen.” CNN soon learned the SEAL’s real identity but agreed, at the Pentagon’s request for his safety, not to release the name. Shortly after, Fox identified the SEAL as Matt Bissonnette, a 36-year-old who had been raised in Alaska, learning how to hunt, shoot and fish at an early age. Wednesday night, CBS aired snippets of a "60 Minutes" interview with the author, set to air Sunday, that showed his face. Given those developments, CNN has decided to report Bissonnette’s name.

The pen name is popular on Twitter on Thursday, not "Bissonnette."

Earnings for the book, Dutton has said, will go to charities that help the families of fallen SEALs. That move may garner praise and help quell accusations that the book, released so close to the presidential election, is politically motivated even though the book is reportedly critical of Obama, the Atlantic reported Thursday.

The SEAL batted down those criticisms in the "60 Minutes" interview.

“This book is not political whatsoever,” he said. “It doesn't bad mouth either party, and we specifically chose September 11th to keep it out of the politics. You know, if these - crazies on either side of the aisle want to make it political, shame on them. This is a book about September 11th, and it needs to rest on September 11th. Not be brought into the political arena, because this - this has nothing to do with politics.”

At least one SEAL has been outspoken about the book. He said he would congratulate Bissonnette on killing bin Laden and then tell him to move with his family to protect his safety.

"He's made himself and his family a target of al-Qaeda extremists," Don Mann wrote in Time, alluding to his own book published last year. "Furthermore, he can expect some disapproval from the SEAL community."

Gen. James "Spider" Marks said that he SEAL could be putting himself in danger and that the book might have "repercussions." But ex-SEAL Chuck Pfarrer has voiced support for the publication of the book: "I’m sure that this author felt, as I did, that the truth wasn’t being told."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Alaska • Navy SEALs • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • September 11 • Taliban • Terrorism • U.S. • War • World
soundoff (551 Responses)
  1. Truth be told

    So what this "SEAL" is telling us is that he and his co-horts LIED to their Commander in Chief about how the day went? Is that what he is writing? That they killed Bin Ladin as soon as they saw him instead of asking for surrender and there was no firefight? They lied to the Prez? Or the Prez is lieing to us about the events, which one to believe....mmmmmm, book is released right before an election by someone who wanted to remain anonymous, mmmmmm. Now we know his name. I feel sorry for this SEAL's family, they will pay the penalty. Sometimes secrets should remain secret for the benefit of all, this secret was blown by someone who wants to toot his own horn and for money. Shame on you, sir.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hillcreter

      According to this article, the book confirms that they were told NOT to kill OBL unless their safety was threatened. Did the author and others involved violate that order? What is the consequence to them?

      August 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • anon

      It doesn't look as though he considered his family when he wrote this, or at least he should have tried harder at keeping his name hidden. However, I don't think he, or they lied to anyone. For one thing, one of the men had a camera attached to their headgear. As far as them sitting on bin ladens body, maybe that and other info simply never came up? "Oh, and bty the way mr. President, in the heliocopter, one of the men decided to far on the corpse since they had no room and sat on him the whole way". I can see some things just never being mentioned. That doesn't make them lies to the president.

      August 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CA

    You can seriously make that comment after he masterminded the 9/11 attacks, which left thousands dead and children without parents? Get a clue. Terminating that coward saved thousands more, yet your concern is for his 12 year old? Clueless.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. :)

    Poor............................and stupid. What a combo.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • .

      Yeah, right. Dumb, dependent, Democrat. What a combo.

      August 31, 2012 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. RainCityLady

    Let's see. It's an election year. He's from Alaska. He broke the code of the SEALS and also has given the Mid East extremists even more to plot against, but uh huh, it's not politically motivated. Yeah sure. Sounds reasonable to me.....NOT.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Canada

    He took the time out of his life to dodge bullets, and a bunch of other risky stuff, and then had the time to write a book about it. darn right he should be paid. we should just be happy he doesn't have PTSD.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. us_1776

    Did this guy get clearance from the Navy to reveal all this stuff?


    August 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. montauklite

    This SEAL is driven by ego and arrogance. We have no need to know any details–nor do our enemies. He endangers special operators and future operations. He's a disgrace.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • :)

      No, he's a capitalist.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • giz

      The SEAL tried to release it anonymously. Its Obama that is dangerous and arrogant. The SEAL is not running for re-election, Obama is. The SEAL has nothing to gain and everything to loose. He took a chance to undo a wrong. I respect him and I think you got it wrong, montauklite.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • CaliBlue

      @Giz, if that were true then home come this ex-Seal didn't get approval from the Pentagon prior to releasing the book. Me thinks he's just in it for the $$... and don't think he didn't get paid beforehand to write this trivial tripe!

      August 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      Republican "Swiftboat" operation perhaps...and what wrong was he trying to undo???

      August 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. giz

    Now we get to hear the real story from the guy that has nothing to gain from distorting it... unlike Obama who compromised us for his re-election. Remember his whisper to Medvedev? "ill be able to be more flexible after elections". Asking Russia to help him with re-election? Cutting deals? WFT. There is other evidence too that Obama compromises state secrets for political purposes. How sad... I remember the surprise editorial about the Stuxnet virus that Obama took credit for too.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotanexpertbutIstayedHIexpress

      Nothing to gain? Really? He got paid didn't he? He can lie about anything he wants, because the SEALS served with will never come out and contradict anything he says. they will follow the unwritten rule and will keep quiet.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I remember Bush calling Putin his friend, Wonder if they are still friends.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      tea party nonsense....

      August 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The King

    I wonder how many women and children this "hero" murdered before he murdered UBL? I'm sorry this obtuse, fly over country huckleberry couldn't get a job at WalMart, but don't expect me to thank him. He was well paid, free healthcare, free food, free lodging, free uniforms.
    You are welcome navy seal.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • SGTROD

      You are a disgrace and a typical liberal hack who freely dogs the military using the very freedoms that they guarentee. How can you sleep at night?

      August 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ScottCA

    That's it keep giving away all our secrets. Tell everyone how our troops fight and what tactics they use. Give away the names of those people who were involved, or like the white house sell out our agents in the field by leaking their names.

    Knowledge is power and they are just constantly giving it away to our enemies.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • us_1776

      Like when Cheney leaked Valerie Plame's name and endangered hundreds of people involved with her operations.


      August 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. NotanexpertbutIstayedHIexpress

    This SEAL broke the faith with his brothers in arms. I promise those he served with are not very happy with what he has done. He put fame and fortune over the safety of those he served with. I also question his credibility on anything after this breech of conduct. He can say what he wants with out question, because the true SEALS won't come out and say a word for or against to correct him. I'm glad I never had the misfortune of serving with such a self centered troop.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotanexpertbutIstayedHIexpress

      Bob Loblaw, and how long did you serve clown? I'm guessing you never served.

      August 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      Bob Loblaw = Slacker.

      August 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ma & pa

    Owens did good.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • us_1776

      And now he does bad.


      August 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jed

    Who cares if they shot first and asked questions later. He's dead and deserves to be.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tone

    Are you seriously trying to say that they did something unfair to poor Bin Laden, as if he deserved some sort of fair and respectable treatment? Who cares if they were unarmed? So were most everyone killed in Al Qaeda's name. I hope he got down and begged for them to not kill him (I know he didn't). His organization has been killing innocent people for too long. I realize governments also kill innocents with their wars, but don't confuse bin laden with someone that deserved fair treatment. He should have been and was killed, outright, along with anyone else in the home. As far as his children watching...don't you think they knew what he did?

    August 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. CaliBlue

    This guy is such a liar... if it's NOT political then why did he make a point of stating how the Seals didn't like Pres. Obama and he also commented that when the Seals were invited to the WH he said VP Biden acted like someone's "drunken uncle." The account of the raid are irrelevant from the minuscule details he presumably sheds. OBL is dead. This guy may be sending the profits to charity but I bet the Koch brothers or some other Rethug Super Pac paid this Seal to squeal!

    August 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
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