WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Wednesday said it has obtained a copy of a soon-to-be-published book by a former Navy commando who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and is reviewing it.
The book was not cleared by U.S. defense officials in advance, raising the possibility that the author could face an investigation and possible criminal prosecution.
“We have obtained a copy and are reviewing it,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Reuters.
“No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden” was written under the pseudonym Mark Owen with co-author Kevin Maurer and was to be released next month on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Its publication has been moved up to September 4, according to reports by some media outlets.
According to the book, bin Laden was unarmed when Navy SEALs found him in the raid on his Pakistan compound last year, several media outlets that obtained advanced copies reported on Wednesday. It also describes bin Laden being shot in the head as he looked out from his bedroom door, the reports said.
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor on Wednesday had no comment on the book, but said: “As President Obama said on the night that justice was brought to Osama bin Laden, ‘We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country.'”
The former SEAL is now facing threats against his life in addition to possible charges. Officials have said the military would take legal action against anyone who exposed sensitive information that could harm fellow forces.
Earlier this month U.S. officials said they were surprised by the book, which was not vetted by government agencies to ensure that no secrets were revealed.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Vicki Allen)