Remember Mark Owen? The phantom? The apparition? The second cousin to Harvey the Rabbit? More specifically (and truthfully) he was — while not being real — the pen name of Mark Bissonnette, the former United States Navy SEAL and Team 6 member who put his account of the historic Abbottabad raid that ended in the killing of Osama bin Laden on paper.
Yeah, all that money he made selling that book, titled No Easy Day (the fees he was paid for talking about it as well) — which totaled in the millions of dollars — he’ll be giving back to the Pentagon, per federal court documents.
His crime? Or rather, his misstep? Failing to clear any disclosures with the Department of Defense.
This from The New York Times:
Mr. Bissonnette also recently forfeited $180,000 in fees for consulting work that he did for military contractors while he was still on the SEAL team, his lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, said in an interview.
If approved by a federal judge in Alexandria, Va., the royalty settlement would bring an end to more than two years of civil and criminal investigations into Mr. Bissonnette …
… The Justice Department conducted criminal investigations into whether Mr. Bissonnette had disclosed classified information in his book or speeches and whether he had violated conflict-of-interest laws in consulting for companies that had contracts with SEAL Team 6. In the end, the department did not bring any criminal charges, settling instead for the cash forfeitures.
Bissonnette’s net losses in the decision, according to court docs and other reports? Nearly $6.8 million.
While he’s remorseful for not cooperating with the Pentagon, a step he was required to do under law as a former special forces operator, he did acknowledge that the decision to not have his text vetted was the suggestion of a former lawyer — a suggestion he complied with.
It’s also worth nothing that one his former fellow SEALs, Robert O’Neill, who has called out Bissonnette in public over the years for not telling the entire truth about the raid AND who claims it was the shots he fired — not the ones of No Easy Day author — which ultimately provided the death blow to bin Laden, is writing a book of his own at the moment.
It’s to be published soon, right after it’s vetted by the Pentagon.