Back in 2012, “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Bin Laden” hit bookstores, quickly hitting the New York Times best-seller list. It was published under the pen name of “Mark Owen,” who was one of the Navy SEALS involved in the raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. After his identity was quickly revealed as Matt Bissonnette, he faced scrutiny for not going through protocol for submitting his book’s manuscript pre-publication to the Defense Department for approval.
After a lengthy legal battle stemming from that, Bissonnette has been forced to make a generous “contribution” to the government from money his book generated.
Bissonnette 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 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.
The Daily Beast reported the settlement, including legal fees, totals over $7 million.Well – it looks like the government finally figured out how to tax someone at greater than 100 percent.
Heavy.com said Bissonette planned on taking all the proceeds from the book and donating it to the family of fallen SEALs. Guess that’s not going to happen.
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]