Washington: A former Navy SEAL, who wrote the best-selling book detailing the secretive raid that killed Osama bin Laden, has agreed to forfeit over USD 7 million, including all sale proceeds from the work, as part of a deal to avoid prosecution for not seeking pre-publication approval.
Matthew Bissonnette, the former Navy SEAL, agreed to pay the US government all past and future proceeds from his bestselling book as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice which alleges that he did not submit the draft of the book for the mandatory review.
“Mr Bissonnette has agreed to pay the United States all of his past and future proceeds from the publication of ‘No Easy Day,'” Department of Justice spokesperson Nicole Navas was quoted as saying by CNN.
As part of the settlement acknowledging his errors, Bissonnette has agreed to pay the US all past and future proceeds from his book, which as of today total nearly USD 6.7 million. He will also be required to pay the government’s legal fees of over USD 1.3 million, ABC News reported.
Bissonnette, who wrote the book under the pen name ‘Mark Owen’, has also agreed to pay the government USD 100,000 for a presentation on leadership that he gave that used slides that included information that was not submitted for Pentagon review first.
Following the publication of the book, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the former Navy SEAL.
The Justice Department alleged that Bissonnette indulged in “breach of contract” by violating a non-disclosure agreement that required him to “submit to the government for pre-publication security review any written manuscript containing or relating to classified information”. However, the complaint did not fault him for revealing classified information.
Bissonnette did not violate matters of national security but rather violated contracted non-disclosure agreements with the military, reports said.
The National Public Radio said Bissonnette tendered an apology for not submitting draft of the book for review.
“I acted on the advice of my former attorney, but I now fully recognise that his advice was wrong. It was a serious error that I urge others not to repeat,” he said.
“This enforcement action does not discredit Mr Bissonnette’s military service, but reinforces that it is important for our service members and individuals who have been assigned positions of trust and granted access to classified information to comply with the obligations set forth in their non-disclosure agreements to protect classified information after leaving the US military and government in an effort to protect our nation’s national security,” Navas said in a statement.