And that's both before and after he undertook his writing of the controversial bin Laden raid tell-all No Easy Day, which the publisher will release as scheduled this Tuesday despite threats of legal action against author Mark Owens (real name Matt* Bissonnette). An e-book released Monday by SOFREP — an organization that reports on U.S. and Allied Special Operations matters — offers insight about Bissonnette's motivation. “Bissonnette was treated very poorly upon his departure … once he openly shared that he was considering getting out of the Navy to pursue other interests," write the authors of No Easy Op: The Unclassified Analysis of the Book Detailing The Killing of OBL, according to the Daily Beast. “How was he repaid for his honesty and 14 years of service? He was ostracized from his unit with no notice and handed a plane ticket back to Virginia from a training operation.”
“What do you do when you find yourself pissed off at your former employer, out of a job, and in need of a paycheck? You start cashing in chips.”
But not all authors who have written accounts about secretive military missions have received a strong rebuke from their comrades. In 2007, retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell wrote the New York Times bestseller Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. Luttrell told "the story of his teammates, who fought ferociously beside him until he was the last one left — blasted unconscious by a rocket grenade, blown over a cliff, but still armed and still breathing." It appears SOFREP embraced the story — as a tribute, not a so-called cashing-in.
Echoing Admiral William McRaven's disdain for military personnel who leak confidential information and use their "'celebrity’ status to advance their personal or professional agendas," No Easy Op makes it pretty clear that Bissonnette won't be receiving any more holiday cards or social invitations from former comrades.
“Some of these authors are considered personae non grata by their former units: members are instructed to never talk to the author and the author is never to be allowed to participate in unit functions again," the authors of No Easy Op write, adding that No Easy Day is one of the "greatest betrayal[s] the community has ever known.”
*An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the author's actual first name was Mark, not Matt. We regret the error.