Washington: The author who has ruffled feathers of many in the Pentagon and CIA by writing a tell-all insider account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan has been identified as a 36-year-old former Navy SEAL from Alaska.
The book, "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden," is set to hit shelves on 11 September, later this year. It is penned under the pseudonym "Mark Owen," according to the publisher, but multiple sources were quoted by Fox News as saying that his name is in fact Matt Bissonnette of Wrangell, Alaska.
Bissonnette could be exposing himself to legal trouble, as the Pentagon has not vetted the account. The tell-all book also has apparently upset a large population of former and current SEAL members who worry about releasing information that could compromise future missions.
One Navy SEAL was quoted by the Fox News as saying, "How do we tell our guys to stay quiet when this guy won't?" Other SEALs are expressing anger, with some going so far as to call him a "traitor." And Colonel Tim Nye, a Special Operations Command spokesman, said the author "put himself in danger" by writing the book.
"This individual came forward. He started the process. He had to have known where this would lead," Nye said. "He's the one who started this so he bears the ultimate responsibility for this," he added.
According to a press release from his publisher, Penguin Group, "Owen (Bissonnette) was one of the first men through the door on the third floor of the terrorist leader's hideout and was present at his death."
In the book, Bissonnette writes "it is time to set the record straight about one of the most important missions in US military history." A unilateral US military raid killed Laden in Abbottabad on May 2, last year.
An experienced member of the elite Navy SEAL special operators, Bissonnette also participated in the highly publicised rescue of Captain Richard Phillips in the Indian Ocean in 2009. That mission involved a daring rescue that ended when SEAL snipers shot and killed three Somali pirates with direct shots to the head.
Bissonnette received the rank of chief before he retired. The book is co-authored with Kevin Maurer, author of four books, many of which were based on Special Operations. Along with using the pseudonym "Mark Owen," Bissonette protected his fellow SEAL Team 6 members by changing their names in the book.
Both the Pentagon and CIA said on Wednesday that the book was not in any way vetted by either department to prevent unwanted classified information from being released.