I discovered this morning that someone signed me up for emails from RedState.com – the Conservative Blog founded in 2004. The way I discovered this is I found their Morning Briefing in my inbox. It happens. I am also on the mailing list for the GOP. I don’t know who the person is that keeps putting my name on Republican and right-wing mailing lists, but the joke’s on them, since I don’t care.
Anyway, in the email was the following header:
Feds Force Ex-Navy SEAL To Pay $6.6 Million Over Bin Laden Book
Below it, in smaller type was this:
The Justice Department isn’t disputing the story. They’re just punishing him for telling it.
This makes it sound like the Justice Department is doing something wrong, doesn’t it?
This headline intrigued me, so I clicked on the article. The very first paragraph states this:
A former Navy SEAL who was involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden is now being forced to pay the government $6.6 million for failing to get the book approved by the Department of Defense.
That paragraph is enough to piss anyone off, isn’t it? It makes it sound like the government is out to get Matt Bissonnette (the man behind the pseudonym of Mark Owen and the book “No Easy Day”). I’m a little miffed at the thought of the government making a Navy Seal pay out his royalties for the book. Matt Bissonnette is, after all, a man who risks his life to ensure our freedom around the world and deserves our respect and thanks. Why would the government do this?
A little further down comes the answer:
As a Navy SEAL, Bissonnette signed a non-disclosure agreement that would prohibit him from releasing sensitive information from his time in the military. His book, the Justice Department claimed, contained sensitive and classified material. Under the agreement made, Bissonnette will acknowledge his mistake of not submitting the book for review. Between that and the payments, the U.S. Government will not pursue more liability claims.
It turns out that Bissonnette not only released “sensitive and classified material”, but he had signed a non-disclosure agreement. Oh, so he broke the law and released classified information and, basically, this is what will keep him out of jail. I learned this last part when I did a search to see what was really happening here and found a Christian Scientist Monitor article released the same day. It’s first paragraph is as follows:
The former Navy SEAL who wrote a book about his role in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden will pay the government more than $6.6 million for violating non-disclosure agreements and publishing without getting the document cleared by the Defense Department, according to federal court documents.
See the difference? This one doesn’t play on your emotions. It merely states the facts of the case and let’s you know what’s up. Bissonnette violated the non-disclosure agreements and did not receive the proper clearance from the Defense Department. (Personally, I would think that his publisher would have looked into that before publishing, but that’s just me.) The article goes on to say that it is illegal for a violation of a non-disclosure agreement, it goes against the ethics of the Seals, based on this tenet: “I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions.”
My point in all of this is to watch what you read (and watch). Don’t just rely on one source. Maybe after reading the Christian Scientist Monitor article you’re still outraged, but at least you have all of the information, laid out for you. In the Red State blog, you don’t. I don’t even believe you should just read these two articles or even my blog. You should try to read everything you get your hands on.
I should say that I’ve completed some research on Red State and I have to admire their tenacity in their refusal to back Donald Trump. Based on that (and their defense of Megyn Kelly against Donald Trump), they appear to be leaning toward the Conservative of old: reasonable and fair. I miss those guys. On the other hand, their banning of Ron Paul supporters as bloggers leans a little bad, but since I’ve only read that in one source, I’m not going to make a judgement on it.