(CNN) – The former Navy SEAL who has spoken about the operation that caught Osama bin Laden is being investigated. Government officials want to know whether he broke the law by revealing secret information.
He says he was right behind the Navy SEAL who took the first shot at Osama bin Laden. Now, his lawyer tells us former SEAL Matt Bissonnette is the subject of a criminal investigation and was recently questioned for 10 hours. Government officials briefed on the matter say the Pentagon and the Justice Department are looking into whether Bissonnette revealed classified information in paid public appearances he’s made since publishing his best-selling book “No Easy Day” about the bin Laden raid. In an interview with CBS’ ’60 Minutes’, Bissonnette, who wrote the book under the pseudonym ‘Mark Owen’, was asked whether he ever disclosed secret information.
He said, “Did I disclose anything that would have put the guys in harm’s way? That’s absolutely not what I intended to do. These are my brothers that I served beside for years. And a lot of them continue to serve.”
Bissonnette’s lawyer says they’re not aware of any specific allegations that any sensitive information was leaked in his speeches, and no criminal charges have been filed. His attorney says the former SEAL doesn’t mind being held accountable, but wonders why former CIA director Leon Panetta isn’t getting that kind of scrutiny after Panetta and others encouraged cooperation with the makers of the film ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’
CNN asked Leon Panetta for comment, but haven’t gotten it. The government had already been trying to seize profits from Bissonnette’s book because he didn’t clear it through government sensors, as he’s required to legally.
Former SEAL John McGuire says he respects Bissonnette’s service, but doesn’t believe he should have written the book. He said, “We don’t advertise the nature of our work. You know being a Navy SEAL and serving our country is great. But again, people want to know what we do and how we do it. But so does our enemy.”
Matt Bissonnette told ’60 Minutes’ he tried to contact his former SEAL commander to explain why he wrote the book on the bin Laden raid. He said his commander responded with a text-message back saying “delete me”. Still others involved in the bin Laden raid have revealed details about it. An unnamed SEAL spoke to ‘The New Yorker.’ Author Mark Bowden got information for his book on the raid, called “The Finish.” and there were the details given to the makers of “Zero Dark Thirty.” So far, Matt Bissonnette’s book is the only one known to be under investigation.