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. Brit

    It's not very honorable to say "it's not political" but then to go on national TV and say "we weren't huge fans of Obama" and release your book right before the election. You are an elite member of the US military special ops who is tasked with carrying out what is probably the most important operation in a hundred years and you do a 60-minutes interview and dis your commander in chief? You just made yourself look like an ace.

    August 30, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. suferdude

    actually.. wat's the, the officials probably released information based on the mission report submission, and ommitting sensitive/classified information. Officially, OBL was killed when the Seals entered his room and shot him. The book on the other hand says OBL was shot in the head from outside through the window, and the the Seals then entered and rained bullets on an already dead OBL... so what's the big deal? The officials was probably protecting the fact that "Mark Owens", if he was really there, trigger happily wasting bullets on a dead body.

    August 31, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. bill

    My country 'tis history. And so there is no need to finish the song. Into oblivion morons. Enjoy. You allowed it to happen starting with Regan and Drug War fears. Now they can hold you without cause, indefinitely just for what you say. They said "terror", pointed over there and you said "Yeah, lets git 'em". Blind faith.
    I'm sure that is what the dead and amputees thought they were fighting for. The author is a fool, played by the
    President himself. Bosses always have lackeys. When I see the video, I'll believe you took the shot and splash.
    Not a second until. I think you are all liars.

    August 31, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Realist

      What in God's good name are you babbling on about?!?!? You rant makes as much sense as this Administration's plan for America. The Navy Seal who wrote this book basically called out the President on his "version" of things; nothing more, nothing less. Obama used UBL's death as a means to boost his campaign; to think otherwise is just plain ignorant. Navy SEALs put their lives on the line every day and when their valor and courage are used to political gains (as Obama has clearly done), it's time to call him on it...

      August 31, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • RichD

      The real members of this country the ones who fight and protect do so for all to be free and safe.

      Including morons like you...

      August 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • VelveteenLady

      Would you mind re-posting your rant in plain English, rather than snippet of random thoughts?

      September 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ladys

      @Realist: You need to change your username if you think this guy published this book for any other reason than to make money. If he really only cared about sharing the "truth," then why is he charging $26.95 for us to get it?

      September 4, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. KEVIN21261

    I can't believe the Pentagon is letting this Navy SEAL do this. He took an oath of secrecy. This guy would secretly disapear off the face of the earth unless the Pentagon WANTED him to do this

    August 31, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • KEVIN21261

      Fun with politics. I need a job were I can take an oath of secrecy.

      August 31, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
    • RobertoLobo

      This KID is a traitor to not only his team members, but OUR COUNTRY! Silence it! You, so do NOT represent the members of our "ELITE" forces, nor our military. Send him to Pakistan..deported! You have exposed your team and yourself, and embarrassed your "Commander in Chief"! What has happened to our Pride and OATH as Americans first? Really upset here

      September 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      All the books and films on previous wars and incidents yet this guy is a traitor? I don't think so. John Wayne's account of the Green Berets was more damaging than this, he explained exactly how every mission went for special forces.

      September 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dutchdude

    9/11 the biggest lie ever told.

    the shot bin laden to the head so the say and then when the found him dead on the floor the shot a few times in the chest just for good meassure .

    in say thats a war crime shooting unarmed man on the floor who are already shot in the head.

    and please don say he could have had explosives on him , shooting him would have set them off.

    again 9/11 is the biggest lie ever told to the world

    August 31, 2012 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
    • youdon'tknow

      You seriously have no idea what you are talking about.

      First, during WWII when troops passed by fallen enemy's they would stab them with their bayonets as they walked by. This was to ensure they were dead, seeing any enemy you pass that is still living is now a POW. So shooting him once he was down is considered good measure. And no generally shooting explosives is NOT enough to set them off. This isn't the movies so take away your hollywood Ideas.

      9/11 was a lie huh? Looked pretty real to me buddy. If you don't support us, I don't see anything keeping you here.

      August 31, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • VelveteenLady

      I do not find your post credible. Please cite your sources that prove what you claim.

      September 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • mfox

      9/11 the biggest lie ever told ??? Now that's some hollywood special effects there. They have gotten really good. What are you a moron ?

      September 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. .

    As always, CNN rushing to the defense of the future (failed) ex president of the United States.

    August 31, 2012 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
    • RobertoLobo

      ummm, that was the last know the one that declared and undeclared war on Iraq!!

      September 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. .

    Dumb, dependent, Democrat.

    August 31, 2012 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ranger6

    So Obama Administration's General Counsel Jeh Johnson, a former civil rights attorney, writes to the author and threatens legal action for allegedly violating his security clearance by revealing classified details about the operation. Really? What a joke! The Obama administration blatantly publicized the entire operation to the media, taking "credit" and distorting the operation to cast a favorable light on Obama. Now they want to threaten one of the heroes who was on the ground putting his life at risk and wants to set the story straight? His book should be published because maybe it will have the impact on politicians that is should about classified information – shut your mouths! Lots of ex-military publish books and those don't get reviewed. The real reason Obama's lawyer is threatening the author is it makes the Obama Administration look bad. They have been leaking classified information all over the place yet no one has investigated that.

    August 31, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • RobertoLobo

      The "Commander in Chief", last I heard made the final call.....that's good enough for this VET!!! Enough said "Soldiers"!!

      September 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • RobertoLobo

      Just curious, "Ranger6", and not judging sir, but does your screen name imply your a Ranger? Again, no offense, but, are you bragging, like the fool who wrote this book. That's shameful in my generation, one never new who our elite were, and that's why they're called...."ELITE FORCES"!

      September 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      @Ranger6-I think you are rewriting history. The President announced that Bin Laden was dead. In all missions the Pentagon tells the final story. The DOD is always cited in the old WWII films. That's the way it's always been.

      However in this instance, the media clamored and demanded more and more information including photos, raid video, etc. The media and conservatives were criticizing the Administration for not providing more information. I believe the Administration was even sued to force releasing more information.

      Now a year later the President gets accused of promoting the mission. You're working from bad intel and acting on a falsehood.

      September 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      We invaded a foreign nuclear power, one that was our ally and whose aid we badly need in Afghanistan. We did it in the Middle East, where people will riot over books being damaged, never mind having their sovereignty insulted. We killed a man, and left behind a stealth helicopter making sure everyone would know it was us.

      Yes, some details were released to the media quickly. They had to be. It would have been extremely easy for Pakistan or Al Qaeda to distort what had happened into a story that hurt America, we had to get our side of the story out there before we were beaten by the punch.

      Al Qaeda and similar group recruit members by creating anger at the United States, and it would have been easy for them to take control of the bin Laden story and turn it into recruitment propaganda. We had to take control of the story first.

      September 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. secret

    LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS. bad idea.

    August 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • VelveteenLady

      Short, sweet, and to the point. Hear! Hear!

      September 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cheryl Fox

    Once upon a time, when my husband was a SEAL in Viet Nam, no one knew anything about the 2 SEAL TEAMS. The Navy kept their secret, ther President never mentioned them, and their families never knew where they were when in-country. Secrecy and incredibly well-trained teams were invaluable. Then the Navy decided that more would be better, and the Pentagon started mentioning them, then the President, and now this SEAL who has apparently forgotten what the SEALS are all about. Some of the other military branches have done exactly the same thing and completely weakened their own elite units. Now we not only have movies about the Green Berets, but about, and starring yet, SEALS. It's time the Navy decides to either get back to a really elite unit (ie, the few of the very best) and enforces the total secrecy with Courts Marshal, or they give up on them. And at the level of the President and Cabinet, they need to be reminded that mentioning ANYTHING about the SEALS is tantamount to helping the enemy and considered treason.

    September 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Marilyn

    I am glad his name is out there, if he has the balls to write this book and sell it he needs to face the consequences. The whole reason he was able to be part of killing a killer is because Obama gave the OK, Clinton could not do it when he had the chance and Bush could not even find him, after starting a war with a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. If he is critical of Obama then shame on him, because he would not have this book if Obama would have been too chicken to do it.

    September 2, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. scott

    Marines aren't Seals. Marines that call the CIC names, put future missions at risk, put family members at risk, and undermine the chain of command...should be on the other side of the Pacific. This Seal undermines the president and endangers his family for decades.

    September 2, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. garyjminter

    Osama bin Laden was killed without a trial. We gave the Nazi leaders a trial, as depicted in the film, "Judgement at Nuremberg." I would have liked to see a public trial of Osama bin Laden, to learn his motivation and reasons for doing what he did. Maybe we could have learned something to prevent future attacks like 9-11.
    As it is, the truth is now buried at sea...maybe that's the way our government wants it to be, considering that the USA supported Osama bin Laden during the Reagan-Bush years when the Taliban and bin Laden were fighting againt the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. We helped train bin Laden and his gang, gave them weapons, President Reagan even flattered the Taliban leaders by comparing them to our own "Founding Fathers" like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
    We also supported Saddam Hussein during the 1980s, when he used poison gas against the Kurds, and conducted a murderous decade-long war against Iran, killing millions of Iranian and Iraqi people....
    Who makes these stupid foreign policy decisions? What idiots allow us to attack a country like Iraq, based on lies?

    September 3, 2012 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. usarmyoverlord

    I would have had more respect for this guy had he'd kept his mouth shut. Why should YOU have a book deal and not the rest of your TEAM?!? and for ones hating on the President you can't have it both ways. Everyone wanted the details of the ops and pictures of OBL dead but the President held back, now he is accused of leaking info?!? Yeah I won't be drinking that tea. I can't wait for November!!! I voted for the president from Iraq in 08 and I see NO REASON to change my vote now. John McCain is a far better pick than Romney!!!

    September 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jonathan


    "I’m sure that this author felt, as I did, that the truth wasn’t being told."


    "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.

    September 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
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