Osama bin Laden Internet video 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON - A former US Navy commando who authored a soon-to-be-published book about the raid in which he and fellow SEALs killed Osama bin Laden could face investigation because he failed to clear the book with the Defense Department before publication.
Fox News made public on Thursday what it said was the real name of the former SEAL who, with a journalist co-author, wrote "No Easy Day" under the pseudonym Mark Owen. The book is due to be released next month.
The book's publisher, Dutton, said Owen was "one of the first men through the door on the third floor of the terrorist leader's hideout and was present at his death."
Colonel Tim Nye, spokesman for the US Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, which directs operations by Navy SEALs and other special operations forces, said on Thursday that SOCOM did not review the book before publication, nor had the SEALs.
Nye said that because the book had not been subjected to appropriate pre-publication review, it could become a target of "potential investigation" by government authorities. He added that any such inquiry was unlikely to be launched until after the book's publication, scheduled for the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
It is not known whether "No Easy Day" contains details of commando operations that the US government considers secret.
But the growing controversy over the book adds new layers of complexity to an already heated election-season debate over credit for the killing of the al Qaeda leader, classified information and news leaks.
Republicans led by presumptive nominee Mitt Romney have criticized US President Barack Obama and his administration for what they describe as excessive and self-serving leaks of security operations.
A group of former US intelligence and Special Forces operatives, many with Republican ties, launched an anti-Obama media campaign earlier this month along the same lines.
The White House and Obama's re-election campaign have denied compromising classified information and accused Republicans of trying to "Swift Boat" the president, a reference to hardball smear tactics used to attack the war record of Democratic Senator John Kerry when he unsuccessfully challenged George W. Bush for the White House in 2004.
The Obama administration has acknowledged providing guidance and access for the makers of a separate movie on the hunt for bin Lade