Bissonnette "will most assuredly face a protracted legal battle which will probably result in the royalties of his book being forfeited to the government."
You see, Mr. Bissonnette defied government regs and proceeded to publish a book about the raid without submitting it for security review with the Pentagon. As a result, according to the New York Times , he will forfeit all of the $6.7 million in royalties he has earned on “No Easy Day,” as well as $100,000 in fees for six speeches. Ouch!
The Times reported that "Mr. Bissonnette acknowledged that he was required under his security clearances to let the Pentagon review the book, and he blamed another lawyer for advising him that he did not need to do so." In something akin to a Maoist show trial confession required of all such offenders, he issued the following statement, “I acknowledge my mistake and have paid a stiff price, both personally and financially, for that error. I accept responsibility for failing to submit the book for review and apologize sincerely for my oversight.”
In that blog article of four years ago, I cited the cases of an ex-CIA officer and a State Department official who similarly got nailed for publishing books on their adventures while in the service of Uncle Sam, got caught, were prosecuted and forced to pay a heavy price in the end.
At that time, I had just shipped off to the State Department my forth book for security review. I pointed out that, "taking an average of six months per review, my books will have sat a total of two years with the green eye-shaders in Washington. That's two years of not being published. Two years of royalties not flowing into my bank account." Whether or not my public laments had anything to do with the State Department adopting new regulations shortening the review process, I can't say, but they now promise a 30-day turnaround on books and up to 20 days for articles. At the same time they announced these tighter turnaround times, the Department pointedly emailed me with the following message:
I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of classified information by me could cause damage or irreparable injury to the United States or could be used to advantage by a foreign nation. I hereby agree that I will never divulge classified information to anyone unless: (a) I have officially verified that the recipient has been properly authorized by the United States Government to receive it; or (b) I have been given prior written notice of authorization from the United States Government Department or Agency responsible for the classification of information or last granting me a security clearance that such disclosure is permitted. I understand that if I am uncertain about the classification status of information, I am required to confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before I may disclose it, except to a person as provided in (a) or (b), above. I further understand that I am obligated to comply with laws and regulations that prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
Can't be more clear than that. The other national security agencies have almost identical rules. And all employees are briefed on them prior to their signing obligatory nondisclosure contracts. So, Bissonnette's blaming his lawyer or claiming ignorance or disingenuously asserting his publisher had already screened his book for sensitive information was blowing smoke a la Hillary Clinton proportions re her emails.
One ex-fed who faced prosecution for publishing a book without vetting and got himself fired for the effort had the audacity to call me a "whore" in an online chat forum for my following the rules. I did not respond to this Tar Baby trash talk. I do not take a moral position on this matter, though I do acknowledge the government's interests in wanting to protect sensitive information. I am a mere pragmatist. I like to keep my royalties and I have this aversion to jail (actually been there once, but that's another story).
I feel for Mr. Bissonnette, a man with multiple awards for valor for service in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he let ego and greed get the better of him and now he's paying the piper.
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