Ex-Navy SEAL under criminal investigation for bin Laden book

The former Navy SEAL who published an account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden is under criminal investigation, The Associated Press reported Friday.

Former SEAL Team Six member Matt Bissonnette wrote a firsthand account titled “No Easy Day” in 2012. The book went to press without being first cleared by the Pentagon.

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The publication triggered an internal military review that found the book contained classified information.

Bissonnette is now facing a criminal probe, with a Pentagon spokeswoman telling the AP that it could result in legal action.

The former SEAL’s lawyer told The New York Times they had hoped to head off a criminal investigation by having Bissonnette forfeit some of his royalties from the book. But that deal fell through, according to the paper, and the Justice Department opened its criminal investigation in May or June.

Bissonnette became a SEAL in 1999 and wrote the book under the pseudonym “Mark Owen.” He was ultimately identified as the author.

The book sparked controversy, with then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saying it had weakened the country’s ability to “go after enemies.”

"I cannot, as secretary, send a signal to SEALs who conduct those operations, 'Oh, you can conduct these operations and then go out and write a book about it ... and/or sell your story to The New York Times,' ” said Panetta at the time.

“How the hell can we run sensitive operations here that go after enemies if people are allowed to do that?"