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“And if I had been part of the raid team on the ground and I had decided to write a book about it, it wouldn’t have been a tough decision for me to submit the book for prepublication review. That is common sense. It’s a no-brainer. And it did not happen.”

‘I saw nothing there’

The Times talked with several people connected to the SEALs who said they saw no classified information disclosed in “No Easy Day.”

“I didn’t see anything in there that disclosed any sensitive tactics, techniques, procedures or sensitive sources and methods. I saw nothing there,” said the first retired officer quoted in this article.

“The main objection to the book is, it exists. Somebody has written about a SEAL Team 6 operation, which is basically a sellout as far as the rest of the ‘spec’ war community is concerned.”

He added that Navy SEALs don’t have time to obsess over the publication of the book because they must prepare for their next mission.

“They’re leaning forward in the foxhole all the time for what missions may be coming up and what do they have to do to prepare for them,” the retired officer said.

Washington lawyer Robert Luskin, who represents Mr. Bissonnette, said in an Aug. 31 letter that Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson has accused the author of being in “material breach” of a nondisclosure agreement with the government.

Mr. Luskin, who refers to the author’s pen name, “Mark Owen,” said, “Mr. Owen sought legal advice about his responsibilities before agreeing to publish his book and scrupulously reviewed the work to ensure that it did not disclose any material that would breach his agreements and put his former comrades at risk.”

Mr. Luskin said the agreement did not explicitly require that the manuscript be submitted for prepublication review.

The Development Group, based in Little Creek, Va., is a specialized counterterrorism SEAL team under the operational control of U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, which also directs the Army’s Delta Force. As in the bin Laden raid, the special operations command takes on the most secretive and demanding manhunting missions, using stealth, intelligence and direct fire to kill or capture high-value targets.

An Army special operations officer told The Times: “The book represents insights into an organization whose secrecy is part of its strength as a deterrent force. The mystique is, or was, critical to our nation’s ability to use them in a counterterrorism role. We generally pity the SEAL teams right now. They are still in shock and sorting out what just happened and the implications.”

Mr. Bissonnette is not the first former SEAL to write a book about wartime operations. Marcus Luttrell wrote a best-seller about a failed mission in eastern Afghanistan to hunt a Taliban chieftain. A former SEAL sniper also penned a best-seller on killing insurgents at far range.

“No Easy Day” is being published at a politically sensitive time. Republicans accuse the Obama administration of leaking classified information on the bin Laden raid to garner favorable press coverage for the president’s re-election campaign. Amid the charges, the Pentagon cracked down on leakers, sending out a memo warning Pentagon employees about unauthorized contacts with reporters.