People gather afterward outside the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed during a raid in Abottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. A firsthand account of the special forces mission, written under a pseudonym, is due out Sept. 11. (Getty Images)
A firsthand account of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden is coming out Sept. 11, written under a pseudonym by an ex-Navy SEAL who participated in the raid and was there for the Al-Qaeda chief's death, the New York Times reports.
In “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden," author "Mark Owen" will "set the record straight" on the May 2011 raid in Pakistan, publisher Dutton said.
The book will give a “blow-by blow narrative of the assault, beginning with the helicopter crash that could have ended Owen’s life straight through to the radio call confirming bin Laden’s death, is an essential piece of modern history," according to a description provided to the Times. The names of other SEALs involved in the mission have been changed for protection purposes as well.
“While written in the first person, my experiences are universal,” the author said, according to ABC News. “It is time to set the record straight about one of the most important missions in U.S. military history. No Easy Day is the story of ‘the guys,’ the human toll we pay, and the sacrifices we make to do this dirty job.”
Described as a "team leader" who was “one of the first men through the door on the third floor of the terrorist leader’s hideout,” Owen completed 13 combat deployments since the Sept. 11 terror attacks before retiring in the last year, the Times reported. He plans to donate the majority of the book's proceeds to charities to help the families of fallen Navy SEALs, according to ABC.
The author will appear in disguise for media interviews to promote the book, the Times reported, with his voice altered for television and radio appearances. A source familiar with the book said at least one prime time appearance has been lined up.
The book has seemingly caught the Obama administration and the rest of the federal government off guard.
"We learned about this book today from press reports. We haven't reviewed it and don't know what it says," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told Reuters.
A senior defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added: "This book came as a surprise to folks at the Pentagon... Naturally, we'll be interested to read the book when it is made available."
Additionally, Reuters explains that the "Pentagon said it hadn't vetted the book or helped provide information to the authors. There are at least two Pentagon regulations requiring the Defense Department review writings by retired troops that contain sensitive material."
Officials with Penguin did not initially say whether the book was "vetted" by any government agencies. Col. Tim Nye, the chief spokesman of the military's Special Operations Command, told the Times that he wouldn't comment until he had a chance to read the book.
However, a senior military official told the Associated Press the manuscript was not shared with special forces officials to check whether it disclosed classified information.
"The book was vetted by a former special operations attorney. He vetted it for tactical, technical, and procedural information as well as information that could be considered classified by compilation and found it to be without risk to national security," Christine Ball, a spokeswoman for the publisher, Dutton, told Reuters.