Questions raised after SEAL’s identity revealed

Posted at 9:37 PM, Aug 23, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-23 22:19:06-04
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The author of the controversial but yet-to-be-published book, “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden,” wrote it under the pseudonym Mark Owen.

The book’s publisher said the special operations forces team member did not want to reveal his name to protect himself and his family.

But only a day after a New York Times first reported the book was coming out, Fox News reported the author’s real name on its website and posted photos of him in combat gear.

Later Thursday, the Associated Press also revealed Owen’s real name.

When CNN asked Pentagon officials if they could confirm the author’s identify, it was asked not to report his name out of concern for his former colleagues who could still be active.

On Thursday, the New York Times said the book’s publisher, Dutton, put out a statement after Owen’s name was revealed.

“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,” the statement said.

The Pentagon will not say how many news organizations asked the Pentagon about the author’s real name and were asked not to reveal it for security reasons.

A senior Pentagon official said Fox News did not contact the Department of Defense ahead of revealing the author’s name. Fox did not respond to a request for comment.

The AP said it was not asked by the Pentagon to withhold the name.

The author and the book’s publisher did not answer calls for comment.

TV interviews with the author must be put in shadow, and similar interviews for print would not reveal his real identity in order to keep the protection he is seeking, according to news reports.

News organizations have been asked to sign a non-disclosure document in order to do the interviews.

Pentagon officials told CNN that Owen and the publishing company did not submit the manuscript through the proper Department of Defense channels to check if secret tactics, techniques and procedures were revealed about the 2011 bin Laden mission.

“Mark Owen” spent more than a decade in the military and left the service last April, Pentagon officials said. If classified military or intelligence information is found to have been revealed in the book, Owen could be charged by the Department of Justice.