Good news for Navy SEAL/Osama bin Laden hunter Mark Owen: Defense Department employees have officially been given permission to buy his book, No Easy Day. But they should avoid tweeting about it or posting comments on Facebook, and should refrain from discussing anything secret at their next book club.
According to a memo from the Pentagon’s director of security, Defense Department personnel “are free to purchase” the book, which the department has said contains classified information that should have been vetted before it was published this month.
Defense Department employees, including uniformed military service members, don’t have to store the book in special containers or areas that are approved for classified information, the memo says. In other words, they can treat it like any other book—take it home, read it on a plane, etc.
But, the memo cautions, anyone who has “firsthand knowledge” of what in the book is or might be classified, or even someone who suspects some information might be, shouldn’t speculate about it or discuss the information publicly. They are also prohibited from “online discussions via social networking or media sites” about potential secrets.
The memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Washingtonian, also reiterates the Defense Department’s claim that Owen (who has been publicly identified as Mark Bissonnette) did not submit the book for a required security review before it was published.
A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed the memo's authenticity, and said it was sent because "we wanted to make sure that DOD service members and civilians understood how to properly handle the book."