1. Question: Has “Mark Owen,” the Navy SEAL from Team 6 who has written an account of the Osama bib Laden kill mission (real name: Matt Bissonnette), engaged in unethical conduct by doing so?
Answer: Of course. It is a basic breach of his duty of confidentiality and national security. There can be no excuse for it.
2. Question: Should the Pentagon take legal action against him?
Answer: Yes. His book is a crime.
3. Question: Is it ethical for a publisher to print and distribute a book that potentially risks national security and that is a violation of a vow of confidentiality by its author?
Answer: No, it isn’t. Freedom of the Press permits the publishing of such books, but I believe that the ethical course for a publisher, like any other business, is not to assist in clear breaches of ethics, especially when they involve national security.
4. Question: Is it unethical for the news media to help promote the book by interviewing the SEAL?
Answer: No. The book is going to be sold, and that’s legitimate news. We can’t blame the news media for this one.
5. Question: Why is this happening?
Answer: Good question! It is happening, I believe, because the Commander-in-Chief, President Obama, has permitted and possibly has approved of an unprecedented and dangerous number of leaks regarding classified intelligence and military operations, especially relating to the death of Osama, for purely political purposes. When leadership flouts laws, rules and principles, those under him, particularly at lower levels, absorb the message that such laws, rules and principles are not inviolate. Thus we should expect that the same administration where the unprofessional practice of leaking classified information has been epidemic and occurring with unprecedented frequency would also be the first to generate a Navy SEAL who does the same. And he may not be the last.
6. Question: Is President Obama at fault for “No Easy Day,” then?
Answer: Not exactly. He is responsible for the ethically flawed culture that generated it, however.
“The fish rots from the head down.”
So do all organizations, including governments.
“No Easy Day” is just another example.
Graphic: Business Insider
Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at email@example.com.