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. Kenny

    Even if this book was praising Obama for the operation, I don't care. Soldiers should not be disclosing sensitive military information without getting clearance from the government first. Publishing a book like this is putting our military forces in harm's way. Whether you agree with what the armed forces are being called on to do or not, Americans ought to respect the job they're doing for us anyway.

    August 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • CWT

      "Like little kids", CNN bias.

      August 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • cleareye1

      They'll have to give up on Assange and Wikileaks after this.

      August 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldpatriot

      Respect the job they are doing?

      They invade other countries based on lies and then proceed to kill and maim the civilian population in these countries. The target of their efforts generally have done nothing to America, If you believe the official storied of 9/11 then you must concede that Afghanistan did not attack us, and the person who supposedly did attack us was living in our allys country the whole time, just across the border in Pakistan.

      I have no respect for the military or the troops, they do a dirty job that is really based on war crimes, lies and aggressive unnecessary war – let me know the next time they fight a war that truly protects our freedoms and liberties and I might change my mind.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      I agree with this but with all the information that was broadcast, it was no longer private. There was too much information that became public knowledge. Perhaps that is where the limit needs to be to protect the military – all of the military.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • josh

      After "Act of Valor", selling the rights of the raid to Sony within weeks of the operation and the singling out of individual SEAL teams regarding missions in Somalia and across the globe, I am glad to finally see one of the service members benefiting from this exploitation of the SEALs. I know there is a code, and all SOF have adopted the SF creed of "quite professionals" but at the government has turned the SEALs into a line on a political resume , removing any shroud of secrecy and so far they have been put out to pasture from these events. I say get paid frog man, get it before your government can't pimp you out anymore.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike N

      Agree 100%. You can not publish such facts so soon. Even though the author says it is no political, it is very politically motivated. If he wanted to honor the team or September 11, why not wait until 2013 or 2015. Whay now?

      August 30, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rosie

    Seriously, do you honestly think this book is for real? How could publishing details of a military operation be so easy and not be subject to some sort of government or military intervention? Don't believe everything you hear or read.

    August 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldpatriot

      Its not real, in fact the BBC had a series in 201 that showed that bin Laden was most likely dead from kidney failure! He has been dead a long time and the entire seal team incursion was a lie to give Obama a military story for the election cycle. Yes I am that cynical and jaded about the first victim in every war – THE TRUTH

      August 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Roelof Kenth Gort

    Islam is missing self reflection. But my comment is worthless for them, because I'm a dhimmi. When I would lived in the ME, I wouldn't have any rights. Demography and democracy go hand in hand. Muslims live by divide and conquer. North and South Sudan. Pakistan and India. Brussel suburbs, French suburbs, London suburbs. Islam hates multiculturalism. It's not Europe that failed Islam, it's Islam that failed. Lets take we sending food to poor Islamic countries, with their terrorist training camps wanting to attack The Hague. Maybe we should stop immigration from those countries. and yeah focus on humanity within our own. Refuse Islamic immigrants because they have a surspise for us all, it aint democracy. Dhimmi rules – no rights for dhimmi's (also means no rules to kill all muslims, do you hear muslims complain about that?).

    August 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mister Mr








    August 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • cleareye1

      Sounds like you were there?

      August 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      SEALs didn't pilot the chopper, genuis (Mister Mr).

      August 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      typo – genius (which was just that)

      August 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cooper

      Do you think the people that lost loved ones on 9/11 care if He was in his PJ's and unarmed? Those that were lost were working and living their lives, too.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Baa Weet

      you are sure they didn't drown him in the puke of 1000 hangovers ??

      August 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    This is why there was so much argument by the Navy SEALs regarding President Obama supposedly "leaking" details about the Osama Bin Laden raid. They were simply being trumped about spoilers being let out prior to their book which they hope to profit from very highly.

    I've got no respect for any soldier who turns a tale of war into profit. What happens there stays there and being granted the privilege of being a special forces soldier has nothing at all to do with glory. Get out of Dodge and take your worthless book with you.

    August 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldpatriot

      War is always about profit, from beginning to end, you just think the profits should stay at the executive level ? Let the guys on the front line make some money – why not everyone else is doing it without risking anything!

      August 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ScottG

    If POTUS can have a movie than a FORMER SEAL can write a book, as long as the FORMER Seal does NOT comprise any lives or secrets acts. If the FORMER seal does comprise those then he better leave the country.

    August 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shelly

    I'm sure the author stands to gain a fortune from book sales, but I don't know if I would have written the book if it were me. I wouldn't want a jihad declared on my head.

    August 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • CWT

      It's not you. A SEAL is special.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • eww

      According to this story the money is to go to charities supporting the families of fallen Navy Seals. I don't doubt there are fallen Navy Seals, but I thought they were grossly in the minority of all fallen service men and women. What hasn't been told is what was the advance and what kind of monies and from whom were they received in order to write this book at this time. To distort what has been duly noted at this time is quite questionable. I don't think this Navy Seal realizes how many lives this book will put in danger. If there is a resurgence in Iraq and Afghanistan, it will be because of Bissonnette. Can he live with that post tramatic poison pen syndrome?

      August 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. inthebook

    to max escoria: don't hide in your dark room behind your computer and call this seal member a spineless wimp, a betrayer and part of seal team zero. you now know his name, why don't you call him and arrange a meeting with him and call him a spineless wimp to his face. i think we know who the spineless wimp is.

    August 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Max Escoria

      We turn our backs on the disgraced, one day when he has no one to turn to he will find that the tarnish on his honor wont come off. And you may have notice Max Escoria is my real Name. Mr In the book

      August 31, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason Johns

      If this is Max Escoria 3rd Grp Ft Bragg, NC. and he refers to you as a spineless wimp, a betrayer, and the sole member of seal team zero. Then you best believe you're a squid whether you know it or not, and if a face to face need be, at least Max has enough respect in our community to have a marching band of Green Beans follow him to your door. Good to hear you commenting on this disgrace, TOP!

      August 31, 2012 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. bombastus

    Whenever this sort of thing happens around election time I smell a rat. The timing to embarrass Obama? Paid off by some Republican PAC? Maybe not but our politics have become so cynical one immediately thinks something fishy is going on. No matter what the motives, as noted in the article, Bissonnette has risked a lot and none of it for good reasons. He might get a ton of money but he now has a target on his head. Dumb. Very dumb.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Red Pison

    The lack of respect for the commander in chief is astounding, whether its from soldiers or fellow politicians or average citizens. The office of President has officially been made into a joke thanks to Bush and Obama.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gok

    root of all evil and the cause of most of Earths problems, I am ashamed of the state of civilization of the human race.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gok

    no body=no raid.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. michael

    A disgrace. You have to wonder what Super Pac is funding this attempt to Swift Boat the president on the run up to the general election. It’s obvious that this soldier is too young, or not a student of military history, to remember what happened to another president who sent troops to Iran in 1980. As Harry Truman once said; “The Buck stops here,” the president gets the credit when things go right and shoulders the responsibility when they don’t.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mark


    That is not Obama's movie, nor would he profit in anyway. This guy might. He says proceeds will be donated to charity but I doubt that is 100% true.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cooper

      Hollywood supports Obama with campaign donations, big time. Obama has profitted and will continue to profit from Hollywood.

      August 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 2MassEffect

    As a just retired 24 year Army vet, count me as one of many who won't be reading this garbage. I took an oath not to profit from being an "All volunteer" soldier, and not a money grubbing egotist.

    August 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
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