Author of Book on Bin Laden Raid Is Identified
The anonymous Navy SEAL member who has written a book about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden remained anonymous for less than 24 hours.
At midday Thursday, Fox News identified him as Matt Bissonnette, a 36-year-old originally from Alaska, and hours later Defense Department and military officials confirmed his identity.
Penguin announced on Wednesday that a former Navy SEAL had written a narrative account of the May 2011 raid that killed bin Laden, and that it would be released Sept. 11.
The book, "No Easy Day," is written under the pseudonym Mark Owen, and the author describes being present at Bin Laden's death. He did not use his real name for safety reasons, the publisher said, adding that he would appear in disguise with his voice altered during television appearances to promote the book. Penguin said Thursday it had no plans now to change that set-up but would review it in the coming days.
The account promises to be one of the fall's biggest titles; on Thursday it shot up to No. 4 on Amazon's bestseller list. Penguin said it was increasing the print run on the book from 300,000 to 400,000.
Christine Ball, a spokeswoman for Dutton, the imprint of Penguin that plans to publish the book on Sept. 11, said in a statement prompted by the Fox News report:
Mark Owen, like every SEAL he has served with, has put his life on the line time and again for his country for more than a decade. Sharing the true story of his personal experience in "No Easy Day" is a courageous act in the face of obvious risks to his personal security. That personal security is the sole reason the book is being published under a pseudonym. We respectfully request that all news organizations and all Americans consider these facts when deciding whether to pursue or publicize his real identity.