US & Canada

Bin Laden raid bestseller's author to pay $7m

Copies of a book by former Navy SEAL titled No Easy Day are seen on display at a bookstore in Washington, DC Image copyright AFP
Image caption No Easy Day quickly rose to the top of US bestseller lists when it was published

A former US Navy Seal who wrote a bestseller about his role in the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden is to pay nearly $7m (£5m) to the government for violating non-disclosure agreements.

Matt Bissonette failed to get clearance from the Pentagon before the book No Easy Day was published in 2012.

He has agreed to forfeit all profits and royalties, as well as film rights and speaking fees.

In exchange, the government will dismiss other liability claims.

The al-Qaeda leader was killed in a May 2011 Navy Seal raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and his body was buried at sea.

Image copyright AP
Image caption President Obama and his national security team monitored the 2011 Bin Laden raid

Navy Seals - special operations commandos - usually abide by a code of silence and do not publicly take credit for their actions.

In the settlement filed at a district court in the state of Virginia, Mr Bissonette acknowledged he had failed to submit his book for review ahead of publication.

He also apologised, saying in a statement that he had acted on the incorrect advice of his lawyer.

"It was a serious error that I urge others not to repeat," CBS news quoted him as saying.

"Although I never intended to endanger my former colleagues, I now recognise that failing to seek pre-publication review could place them and their families at greater risk, for which I especially apologise."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption In 2004, Bin Laden took credit for the al-Qaeda attacks on the US on 11 September 2001

The former commando, who wrote under the pseudonym Mark Owen, will have four years to pay the bulk of the money to the government, according to the Associated Press news agency.

He has 30 days to pay $100,000 made from presentations he gave using slides that were not approved by the Pentagon, it says.

His account of the Abbottabad raid has been questioned by another member of the elite Seal Team 6 unit that carried out the operation, who has a different version of how Bin Laden was shot dead.

Seal Team 6 (ST6)

  • Elite group of US Navy's Sea, Air, Land (Seal) teams trained to carry out top secret operations
  • Part of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DevGru) based in Virginia
  • Led the 2009 rescue of US Captain Richard Phillips, kidnapped by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean
  • In 2012, several ST6 members were disciplined for working as paid consultants on a video game

Profile: Seal Team 6

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