19
Sep2012
Violating Non-Disclosure

Will Ex-Navy Seal Face Lawsuit for Violating Non-Disclosure Pact?

“No Easy Day” written by former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette has already ignited a controversy. The book narrates the mission to kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. It might encourage the Defense Department to consider legal action against the author for violating a non-disclosure pact.

Unauthorized Disclosure of Military Secrets

According to the Defense Department, Bissonnette is in “material breach” and violation of the non-disclosure agreement. The agreement restricts him from disclosing military secrets. While Bissonnette is not the first SEAL to author a book, he failed to submit the manuscripts for a pre-publication review. Agreements not to divulge classified information are a standard requirement for military members.

Bissonnette signed two agreements in 2007. Since the release of the book, officials are now saying that Bissonnette revealed too many details. He especially revealed too many details about the raid that captured Bin Laden. It is alleged that he violated his non-disclosure pact.

The difficulty is defining exactly what classified information is. The concern is that Bissonnette revealed too much information that might end up in the hands of enemies. Specifically, the book self-servingly puts other and future members of the military at risk for Bissonnette’s personal financial gain.

If the Pentagon takes legal action, Bissonnette will face criminal prosecution. And, the U.S. government would be entitled to all book royalties. That said, the military rarely brings civil suits against individuals for failing to do pre-publication review.

On the contrary, the distribution of the book may lead to increased breach and violation of agreement. Moreover, prosecution against a war hero involved in such a critical mission might also lead to political disturbances. It is a tough call for the Pentagon and the government. Will the ex-navy seal face a lawsuit for violating a non-disclosure pact?

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