A former Navy SEAL who wrote a book describing the raid that killed Osama bin Laden sued his former lawyers for malpractice, saying they gave him bad advice that tarnished his reputation, cost him his US security clearance and caused him to surrender much of the book’s income to the government.
Using the pseudonym “Mark Owen” that he published the book under, Matt Bissonnette filed the lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan. His 2012 book, “No Easy Day,” prompted a Pentagon inquiry that evolved into a criminal probe by the Justice Department.
Bissonnette seeks unspecified compensatory damages, saying his losses will amount to at least USD 8 million after he agreed to surrender most of the book’s proceeds. He said he also will lose consulting jobs, speaking engagements and future employment.
Named as defendants were attorney Kevin Podlaski and the Carson Boxberger LLC firm in Indiana. Messages seeking comment were not immediately returned.
Bissonnette said he acted on the advice of his former lawyers when he did not let the Department of Defense and other governmental agencies perform a pre-publication review of his book and when he relied on their advice that they had reviewed the book and removed all classified and sensitive information.
The lawsuit said Bissonnette decided to write the book after realizing that others who did not know the accurate facts were writing about and discussing the daring May 2011 raid by SEAL Team 6 in Pakistan that killed the head of al-Qaida, who was the inspiration behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US.
According to the lawsuit, Bissonnette always had intended to donate a substantial portion of proceeds from the book to charity and was always aware that the disclosure of sensitive information could put other SEALs in danger.
“He was devoted to not disclosing anything he thought could be used by America’s enemies. To insure he complied with all his obligations of confidentiality, he sought out legal counsel to advise him,” the lawsuit said.
He said he was referred to Podlaski and the Boxberger firm by his literary agent and publisher, both located in New York.
The lawsuit noted that Bissonnette referred to Podlaski and the firm when he said in the book that he hired a former special operations attorney to review the manuscript to ensure no “forbidden topics” were mentioned.