What legal consequences could a former U.S. Navy SEAL face for writing a book about the still-classified 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden?
Legal experts say the author could face trouble on two fronts -- a civil lawsuit for not seeking a military review before the book was published and possible criminal prosecution for revealing classified information.
But a former Justice Department national security lawyer, Pat Rowan, said the government might be reluctant to prosecute a man who helped kill America's No. 1 terrorist enemy, unless the book reveals highly valuable and sensitive intelligence secrets.
"What's more, if the government did decide to prosecute, the author's lawyer would be entitled to dig into the information that was disclosed by the White House and other officials, in both sanctioned and unsanctioned leaks," Rowan said.
Rowan was referring to the fact that President Barack Obama and other administration officials have been accused by Republicans of leaking details of the bin Laden raid for political gain.
Dutton, a subsidiary of Penguin Group USA, announced on Wednesday that the book, titled "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden," would go on sale on Sept. 11.
The author, who will be identified only by a pseudonym, “was one of the first men through the door on the third floor of the terrorist leader’s hideout and was present at his death,” it said in a statement.
A similar case arose in the 1970s, when a former CIA officer named Frank Snepp published a book about his activities in Vietnam.