The day after Fox News outed the former Navy SEAL Team 6 member who wrote an account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, 60 Minutes announced it had interviewed him, military officials confirmed his identity, and The New York Post ran his picture. Matt Bissonnette, the 36-year-old retired SEAL, is going to be famous as much for the fact that he didn't keep quiet as for what he actually did the night bin Laden was killed. Of course, lots of people want to hear a firsthand account of the raid, which has already been recreated in television documentaries, magazine features, and in person, so he'll also be famous for what he wrote as well.
Bissonnette's fame could cost him, as the military works to make sure he doesn't set an example for his colleagues. "We will pursue every option available to hold members accountable, including criminal prosecution where appropriate," special operations chief Adm. Bill McRaven wrote in a letter to troops, according to The Associated Press' Kimberly Dozier. Officials have said they didn't sign off on any of the contents of Bissonnette's book, No Easy Day, which is scheduled for a September 11 release. He'll surely be on the hook if the Pentagon decides it revealed classified information. As The Washington Post's Craig Whitlock reports, military officials had confirmed his identity, but "Pentagon and Navy officials said they were unaware of Bissonnette’s plans to write the book until Dutton announced its publication Wednesday."
Bissonnette's publisher, Dutton, had planned an elaborate series of techniques to hide his identity, including putting him on talk shows in disguise and altering his voice. (The New York Post's photo can be found here.) But there's so much interest in what he has to say, and so many people would have to work with him during his media blitz, that perhaps it was inevitable he would be identified. Still, it's kind of amazing government officials didn't know who he was before his book was actually announced.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.