Nightly News | August 23, 2012
>>> a new book about the bin laden raid by a former member of the navy seal team that pulled off the raid is opening up a torrent of criticism especially in the military community where special operations is supposed to be just that -- special -- quiet, carried out entirely in secret and in the shadows. the book is scheduled to come out on september 11 and the question tonight is, what will happen if details of an operation that was supposed to remain secret forever are suddenly made public? our pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski is there with us this evening.
>> reporter: they are holding their breath over the release of this book and feel betrayed by one of their own. the specific details of the raid on this compound that killed osama bin laden have been some of the most closely held secrets by the u.s. navy seals . it appears now that sacred oath of silence is about to be broken. "no easy day" the first-hand account of the mission that killed osama bin laden is written under the pseudonym mark owen , a 36-year-old former member of seal team 6 who now lives in alaska. according to the publisher dutton the author gives a blow by blow narrative of the assault and watched bin laden die. he was one of the first men through the door and was present at his death. the book has already stirred a firestorm of controversy among navy seals who are expected to take their secrets to the grave.
>> i have friends at the command seal team 6 who definitely feel this was a betrayal that one of their own got out and immediately, you know, essentially is looked at as selling out.
>> reporter: in an exclusive interview for "rock center" mike mullen told brian williams the seals wouldn't even tell him who took the shot that killed bin laden .
>> when i talked to the team about that specifically, their response is, we all did it.
>> reporter: but there was one guy who put a laser site on his forehead and pulled the trigger and he knows it was his m-4 or whatever weapon they were using.
>> they will tell you they all did it.
>> reporter: the release of the book also raises serious legal issues. if the book reveals any secrets or classified information , it must first be reviewed and cleared by the military or government. the author did not submit this book for review.
>> he should have done that. he knew better. there was a reason he didn't do it. and that's probably money.
>> reporter: even the white house was taken by surprise.
>> we were unaware of this book until yesterday in the press reports about it.
>> reporter: and prosecuting the case could prove difficult if not unpopular.
>> to drag this person into court, the one person who actually risked his life in order to make sure this operation succeeded, that seems to me to be a huge road block for the prosecution.
>> he's right in the inner circle .
>> reporter: the book follows a steady stream of leaks about the operation that killed osama bin laden including a movie in which administration officials cooperated with the film maker. after accusations the white house was playing politics, the release of the film was delayed until after the november elections. now it's not clear that in the end the author will make any money on this book. as a seal he had to sign a nondisclosure agreement which states that he'd have to forfeit any profits made from a release of classified information . quite frankly, it's not even clear the book contains any top secrets. nobody in the military, pentagon, or even the cia has seen a copy yet, brian.
>> jim miklaszewski on this book that's rocking the special operations community, jim, thanks for your reporting.