The document that might spell trouble for ex-Navy SEAL author

AP photo

If ex-Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette discloses classified information in his upcoming tell-all on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, he could be subject to criminal prosecution under the Espionage Act, as we noted earlier. But even if he doesn't divulge any secrets, he's still got major legal problems. That is, according to a document surfaced by Steven Aftergood, a secrecy expert with the Federation of American Scientists. 

That's because Special Forces personnel like Bissonnette are typically required to sign non-disclosure agreements that require them to submit manuscripts to the government before they publish books for the general public. These documents pertain to authors who had access to "sensitive compartmented information," or in laymen's terms, classified intelligence information, which the Osama bin Laden mission certainly qualifies as. And according to Aftergood, the precedent for the government going after author's like Bissonnette is fairly straightforward. "The government’s authority to enforce a non-disclosure agreement in this way was affirmed by a federal court most recently in the case of USA v. Ishmael Jones," he writes. "In that case, Jones (the pseudonym of a former CIA officer) published his manuscript without completing the prepublication review process." You can see a copy of this type of Pentagon non-disclosure agreement here

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.