Fox News Defends Revealing Name of Ex-SEAL Team Member
By WSJ Staff
A Fox News executive says that the network revealed the real name of a former SEAL team member because the man had “no reasonable expectation of privacy” after writing a book about his role in the mission to take out Osama bin Laden.
Fox News issued a report today giving the real identity of the author of “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden,” a coming non-fiction account of the 2011 mission that killed bin Laden. Penguin Group’s Dutton imprint, the publisher of the book, responded in a statement that argued that naming the author, who uses the pseudonym “Mark Owen,” would compromise his safety and that of his family.
The Associated Press followed the Fox report with an article that confirmed the real name of the author of the book.
The AP didn’t immediately respond to a request for a comment.
In a statement emailed to Speakeasy, John Moody, executive vice president & executive editor of Fox News, said “Once you write a book, anonymously or not, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Fox News is owned by News Corp., publisher of the Wall Street Journal.
“We aren’t confirming the name and weren’t advised in advance that a name purported to be the author would be published,” said George Little, the Pentagon press secretary.
Publisher Dutton will give “No Easy Day” a first printing of 300,000 copies and will release it on Sept. 11. (According to a report in the New York Times, that first printing has already been raised to 400,000 copies.) A representative said the publisher doesn’t yet have pre-order numbers, since the book became available late yesterday. The book is currently No.2 on the Amazon bestseller charts.
In response to the Fox News report, Dutton released a statement that read, in part, “Mark Owen, like every SEAL he has served with, has put his life on the line time and again for his country for more than a decade.” The statement went on to say that “personal security is the sole reason the book is being published under a pseudonym. We respectfully request that all news organizations and all Americans consider these facts when deciding whether to pursue or publicize his real identity.”