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US threatens legal action over SEAL's Bin Laden book

books Updated: Sep 06, 2012 15:18 IST

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The Pentagon on Thursday threatened legal action against the former Navy SEAL who has written a book recounting his role in the raid that killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

"In the judgment of the Department of Defense, you are in material breach and violation of the non-disclosure agreements you signed" and the Pentagon is considering "all remedies legally available to us," Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson warned in a letter to the author, who writes under the pseudonym "Mark Owen."

The former Navy commando's book "No Easy Day" is due to be released next week but has already sparked a wave of publicity and controversy.

He signed documents during his service and before he retired promising "never to divulge" classified information and to submit any manuscript to the Pentagon before publishing, Johnson said in the letter.

The Pentagon's top lawyer noted that some copies of the book had appeared even before next week's scheduled release and warned: "Further dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements," it said.

The letter did not indicate whether the book had revealed secrets that could endanger US forces but top military and intelligence officials have combed through the text in recent days looking for any disclosure of sensitive tactics or techniques.

The Navy SEAL team member's version of the Al-Qaeda chief's death differs from previous accounts offered by President Barack Obama's administration and will fuel a debate on the handling of state secrets in the wake of the killing.