By Jay Holmes
As most folks know by now, on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 author “Mark Owen” will release “No Easy Day,” a first hand account of the Osama Bin Laden mission. I have not read the book and will not guess at the veracity of its contents, but I find the controversy surrounding the release of the book rather interesting.
image from amazon.com
The author is a US Navy SEAL who was on the mission to kill (or capture) Osama Bin Laden. My guess is that the average American and many Europeans will be anxious to read about the details of the raid on Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. The author apparently made that assumption as well and proceeded to write and publish his book. Some members of the SEALs have expressed their displeasure over the release of the book and have stated that they feel the author has violated the SEALs’ rule of never revealing secrets about their missions.
About two weeks ago, I became aware that the Pentagon was “concerned” about the release of the book because the book had not gone through its review process—a process which the Pentagon routinely requires for books about military operations, procedures, facilities, equipment, etc. that are published by members and ex-members of the US military. A Pentagon spokesman even mentioned that the Pentagon wished it COULD review the book prior to its release. Apparently, the mere Pentagon with its military judicial system, backed up by the US Justice Department, is helpless in the face of an author and a publishing company and could only WISH to see the book before its then-projected September 11 release date.
Is this the same Pentagon that routinely invites people to vacation in Guantanamo, Cuba so it can ask whatever questions it or the CIA might have on their numerous and well financed minds? Am I to believe that the same Pentagon that commands the greatest military force in history has been left begging to review a book before its release, while media members stroll through fashionable Georgetown restaurants flashing their copies? It’s summertime. Perhaps a few hundred thousand people in the military and at the Justice Department have all gone on extended vacation, and the Pentagon simply can’t get anyone to answer the phone. Maybe they forgot to pay the bill and the phones are shut off.
Maybe. But maybe not. The Pentagon, the Justice Department, and the White House, along with lots of other government agencies, have always proven themselves quite agile when it comes to reviewing and redacting books before publication, and even suppressing books after publication. In fact, their willingness to redact has nearly rendered the Freedom of Information Act useless. But I’ll save my personal anger over those black ink wielding clowns in Washington for another day.
On August 30, 2012 a Pentagon spokesman, apparently just returned from a long vacation or an exceedingly long nap, announced that the Pentagon will use “all legal means available” to do something about “No Easy Day,” but they haven’t quite figured out what that might be. Apparently, too many folks have not yet returned from their vacations. My point today is that I simply can’t buy the helplessness that the Pentagon is presenting to the public concerning “No Easy Day.”
So what’s with all the theatrics? Is someone in the White House or Pentagon hoping to drive up sales of the book? Why would they do that? What politician, if any, will be assisted by the publication of “No Easy Day”? I have no idea. I suppose that I will have to grit my teeth, pay for a copy and then decide. I haven’t convinced myself to take the bait. I still haven’t recovered from the indignity of paying to see “The Bourne Legacy,” and I don’t want to be duped by what might turn out to be “One Easy Political Scam.” Who knows? Perhaps it’s a great book without any hidden agendas. Time will tell.
I suppose that I will eventually cave in and read the book. In the meantime, I would love to know what the hell is going on over at the Pentagon when they can’t lay their hands on a copy of a book or remember how to “invite” someone in for a frank conversation about the rules. If this is really the state of affairs in the Pentagon, then someone’s mother or the taxpayers should take away all of their expensive and dangerous toys until they remember how to behave like grown up bureaucrats.
Interestingly, since the Pentagon announced its “concerns” and made a great show of public hand-wringing, sales of “No Easy Day” have soared to well over half a million. My writing partner and I are thinking there’s a great a marketing opportunity in this for some of us thriller authors. After all, having the Pentagon upset about our book would be more publicity than we could ever afford to purchase for ourselves.
Therefore, we hereby officially announce that our current work in progress will include titillating and previously untold facts concerning how a special forces team kidnapped Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and installed a puppet alien life form to rule in his place. We will also reveal details about how the Pentagon has created a portable black hole device that can suck in cash at a velocity greater than the speed of light. Only those who buy our book will ever know these great national secrets, and we certainly hope for the sake of our sales that the Pentagon will wake up in time to express its anxiety about the fact that we did not ask them to review it first.
Top Secret preview from our upcoming book, the actual alien life form known as Hugo Chavez captured on film by David Shankbone.
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*‘Jay Holmes’, is an intelligence veteran of the Cold War and remains an anonymous member of the intelligence community. His writing partner, Piper Bayard, is the public face of their partnership.
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