Ex-Navy SEAL's lawyer fires back at Pentagon claims

Navy SEAL describes bin Laden raid

The appearance of author Matt Bessonnette was altered for a “60 Minutes” interview about the book he wrote about the Osama bin Laden raid.


(CBS News) The attorney for the former U.S. Navy SEAL who wrote a controversial book about the killing of Osama bin Laden is firing back against the Defense Department.

He says author Mark Owen, which is a pseudonym, earned the right to tell his story. But the Defense Department says Owen violated two non-disclosure agreements. It has warned of unspecified legal action against him and unspecified associates.

SEAL tells "60 Minutes" book is for honor, not politics

Mark's attorney, Robert Luskin, responded with this statement: "Mr. Owen takes seriously his obligations to the United States and to his former colleagues. They are as important to him as any mission he undertook while on active duty. Mr. Owen sought legal advice about his responsibilities before agreeing to publish his book and scrupulously reviewed the work to ensure that it did not disclose any material that would breach his agreements or put his former comrades at risk. ... Mr. Owen is proud of his service and respectful of his obligations. But he has earned the right to tell his story..."

The book, "No Easy Day," was supposed to be released on September 11, but will now come out next week.

In a "60 Minutes" interview, Owen told CBS News' Scott Pelley he has no hidden agenda.

"My worry from the beginning is, it's a political season," Owen said. "This book is not political whatsoever. Doesn't bad-mouth either party, and we specifically chose September 11th to keep it out of the politics."

Watch that clip in the video below

But Brandon Webb, a former Navy SEAL and a friend of Owen's, said the book will be used for political reasons. Webb, himself the author of "Red Circle," said on "CBS This Morning: Saturday," "I absolutely think he earned the right to tell the story. The big issue is there was no formal review and that - you get into a situation with the timeliness of this and even though you hear, I'm sure he believes in his heart that he didn't want to make the book political, but then you have a publisher trying to drive book sales and they're well aware of that, releasing a book of this nature right before the election in November.

"It's going to be politicized, so it's going to be interesting - just to see once everyone has a look at the book and to see exactly what is in it, and I know Mark would never intentionally release any information to put his teammates in jeopardy. But the timeliness of the book is - you can't help but put some people in jeopardy with this threat chain especially now, like I said, Fox released his name and it's a security issue at that point."

Fox News and the Associated Press have identified Owen. CBS News has not released Mark Owen's real name.

Webb said Owen wrote the book to "set the record straight."

"You see a lot of articles and things about this particular operation," he said. "A lot of it really didn't tell the true story."

For more on this story and Webb's full interview, click on the video in the player above.

The full interview with former Navy SEAL Mark Owen will air on "60 Minutes" on Sunday Sept. 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.