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August 23, 2012

Updated 8-25-12 : SOCOM Says Author of “No Easy Day” Cleared Hot

Update: A US SOCOM source tells SOFREP that Admiral McRaven’s Public Affairs Officer has been in contact with the author directly, and that (apparently) no classified information has been disclosed in the memoir. We’ll see in the coming months if this proves true or not.

Public and community (SEAL) perception has arguably been set by the publisher (Penguin USA) that this is a “tell all” book. My take is that we wait to pass judgement until the book is released and everyone has had a look. 


There’s blood in the water and the media sharks are hungry with the book “No Easy Day”, authored by a former DEVGRU Operator who was a team leader on the raid that killed UBL.

The Internet and social media has created a world where headlines live and die depending on who’s first to Tweet about it.  It’s something that is causing major headaches in the US Special Operations community.

“The Admiral (SEAL) has locked down all media projects until further notice”– A SEAL Master chief recently told SOFREP.

Writing tell all books of this rare nature can come with tempting seven-figure contracts.  It’s easy to sit back and say this SEAL operator sold out for big money, but before you judge maybe walk a mile in his shoes. More on this later.


Operators have already clearly stated this and at least one DEVGRU operator was quoted in Jack Murphy’s post.

The New York Times also falsely reported that the SEAL author is retired.  He did not retire – he honorably separated in 2011 with no retirement benefits, and he has a family.

Thirteen deployments, over ten years of service, and no retirement benefits. Put a seven-figure book deal on the table and you’d have to ask yourself, “what would I do?”

And who is dangling the carrot for this SEAL author and counting their eggs before they hatch? Penguin, the publisher.  It begs to question whether or not publishers should be held more accountable in the future.

Most books go through a lengthy legal review regardless of Military approval. However, this book received no DOD review and it’s impossible for any lawyer to make Operational Security decisions when they aren’t privy to what’s classified on an operation. Any legal counsel would need at least a Top Secret clearance and have a need-to-know in order to make this call.

Penguin’s legal counsel clearly had none of the above.  They would’ve had to rely on the DEVGRU SEAL’s judgement, and hopefully for his sake, it was solid judgement. I would expect that he revealed nothing pertaining to the UBL mission and that the publisher is leveraging his status to market a memoir, not a tell all book.  Time will only tell.

There’s also a “Threat Chain” concern in this particular instance because Fox leaked his name in a move that would rival TMZ as a class act. The fact that this operator comes from DEVGRU so recently and Fox leaked his name puts others at risk.  Example: A person I know bought his former house in Virginia and his family is now put at risk with an easy open source search of escrow documents.

Our opinion is that the publisher at Penguin clearly had no concern for National Security or Operational Security (OPSEC) with regards to ST6/DEVGRU, or they would have not published this book. Should publishers have more accountability? We say yes.

One thing that is certain, this former DEVGRU operator has been ostracized by the men of DEVGRU for good. I hope his royalty advance was worth it.

About the Author

is a former U.S. Navy SEAL with combat deployments to Afghanistan, and Iraq. During his last tour he served as the west coast sniper Course Manager at the Naval Special Warfare Center. He is CEO of Force12 Media , a SOFREP contributing editor, and a New York Times best selling author (The Red Circle & Benghazi: The Definitive Report). Follow Brandon on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

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  • myfinaloption

    since he didnt get benefits the book was the recourse. It is what it is brothers.

  • myfinaloption

    The combat operator because of his mission record if all was up to unit standards, he should get his benefits.

  • myfinaloption

    man this is a tough 1.that said opsec wasn't violated so leave it at that.

  • Allwet

    After reading The Penguins comments in another thread about how wired into Devgru he is , all the inside slang he uses "without thinking about it", blah,blah ,blah-ad nauseum , seems pretty clear where HIS INTERESTS LIE. That was not a typo;), by the way. While a point can definitely be made about operator benefits issue(or more APRO-"LACK OF THEM"), I would say that a hard fast rule concerning the amount of time that need pass (between the op. and the release of any relevant info media wise; would not be a bad thing.   I don't know how long the wait to publish " No Easy Day"  would've been had not the HAIC (PROJECTILE VOMIT)Come out ON TV before the rotors even cooled to say looky what "I DID". ... BUT ANY THOUGHT OF PROSECUTION AFTER THE HEAD ASS HAT IN CHARGE WENT INTERNATIONAL, would seem top be a mute point. Not like anyone can't figure out where big pieces of stealth helicopters come from , but had there NOT been any huge tell tales left behind the intelligence bonanza could've really been acted on.   Just for the record, operator benefits SHOULD be different then the mainstream military, many might whine about special treatment etc; well no shit Sherlock! YOU can qualify too, anyone in the military could.....just meet the standards, pass the selections, run the crazy training cycles required these days, leap on to the conveyor belt of multiple shitfans....and you could be "Special" too.

  • aidsaidsaids   Things are rarely so simple.