WASHINGTON -- A Navy SEAL's account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden that went on sale Tuesday reveals many details of the mission, but its publisher says it does not divulge classified information.
Matt Bissonnette, who wrote No Easy Day under the pseudonym Mark Owen, does not hold back on how bin Laden met his gruesome end during a secret helicopter raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011.
Despite the claim that the book contains no secrets, Pentagon press secretary George Little said that an official review determined that it reveals "sensitive and classified" information. He said the author was required to submit the book to the Pentagon before publication.
Also on Tuesday, the commander of Navy Special Warfare Command, Rear Adm. Sean Pybus, warned his troops about violating their ethos of not advertising their work.
"The security of our force and families is also put at risk by the release of sensitive information," Pybus wrote.
Dutton, the book's publisher, said that the book, written with the help of former Associated Press reporter Kevin Maurer, had been screened by a lawyer with experience in military secrets and that nothing classified had been revealed.
Bissonnette reveals that bin Laden did not put up a fight as claimed by the White House, describing how one of his comrades shot the al-Qaeda chief on the right side of his head as he peeked out of a doorway.
"Blood and brains spilled out of the side of his skull. In his death throes, he was still twitching and convulsing," he writes. "Another assaulter and I trained our lasers on his chest and fired several rounds. The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless."
The book contradicts the official White House account, which maintained in the days after the raid that bin Laden was shot in a firefight after appearing to try to arm himself. Bissonnette says the architect of the 9/11 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans was shot on sight.
"He hadn't even prepared a defense," he said. "He had no intention of fighting."
White House spokesman Jay Carney would not comment on the book last week but acknowledged that some accounts of the raid from the White House were "incomplete."
Bissonnette said that neither he nor many SEALs are fans of the president but that he did not write the book for political reasons.
Bissonnette's book describes the secretive, insular world of the nation's premier counterterrorism force, and how working for the SEALs and not family life was the priority in members' lives. The most compelling part of the book is its final third - regarding the planning, training and execution of the raid.
Bissonnette was on a helicopter that crash-landed in the compound and was involved in a firefight that was essentially the only resistance encountered by the SEALs. The battle ended in the death of one of bin Laden's couriers, Ahmed al-Kuwaiti.
He writes of what was found in the search of the compound such as computers, files and a box of Just for Men hair dye used by bin Laden to keep his beard from looking gray.