Jessica: The book No Easy Day is a play-by-play of the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan last year.
The author was a member of that Navy SEAL team – part an elite Special Operations force.
He calls himself Mark Owen. But that’s not his real name.
He recently spoke to “60 Minutes.” And in order to protect his identity, he underwent a hair voice and makeup transformation.
Mark Owen: I mean, we’re not there to assassinate somebody. We weren’t sent in to murder him. This was, “Hey, kill or capture.”
Bin Laden was killed. Not by Owen – who has since left the Navy SEALs. Instead, Owen took the pictures of what was then the most wanted man in the world.
Owen: I figured these were probably some of the most important pictures I’d ever take in my life, so, you know – make sure I do it right, get good angles, and all this other stuff. But, you know, you got to clean off the face, so it’s as identifiable as possible.
Jessica: But the government says that Owen – whose real name has been revealed by other news agencies – signed an agreement that prohibits him from sharing details of the mission without the government’s permission, in order to protect national security.
Leon Panetta: People who are part of that operation, who commit themselves to the promise that they will not reveal the sensitive operations, and not publish anything without bringing it through the Pentagon, so that we can ensure that it doesn’t reveal sensitive information – when they fail to do that, we have got to make sure that they stand by the promise they made to this country.
Jessica: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was the man in charge on the night of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
The former head of the CIA wants the government to take action against the former Navy SEAL.
Panetta: I cannot, as Secretary, send a signal to SEALs who conduct those operations, “Oh, you can conduct these operations and then go out and write a book about it. And – or – sell your story to the New York Times.”
But Owens says he wrote the book to set the record straight about one of the most important missions in us history. And he argues he did not reveal any secrets about the Navy SEALs, or how the U.S. runs secret missions.
Owens: I’m not talking secrets, I’m not talking tactics. I don’t even get into any of that stuff. I try to give reader a sense of what it’s like to be there.
Jessica: Experts say the government will most likely go after the book’s profits, and not the former Navy SEAL, who was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service.