After Osama bin Laden was shot and killed during a Navy SEALs operation in 2011, the government immediately tried to quash the release of a photo of the terrorist’s bloody corpse.
Now, the same man who wrote a tell-all book about the operation — against established military rules — Matthew Bissonnette is in trouble again for allegedly keeping an unauthorized copy of the corpse photo on a computer hard drive.
Bissonette, 40, was on SEAL Team 6. Not only has he gotten in a bit of trouble for his book, No Easy Day, he’s been investigated for revealing classified information and is now suspected of using his elite occupation for personal profit while on active duty, the Intercept reported.
According to CNN, Bissonnette turned over the hard drive to investigators as part of an agreement. As part of that agreement, the former SEAL wouldn’t be prosecuted for unlawful possession of classified materials. His attorney, Robert Luskin, confirmed that the criminal investigation for his client’s alleged wrongful disclosure of classified info had been closed.
Lawyers: Navy SEAL, alleged Bin Laden shooter ignored advice on book https://t.co/MXAru9ZgLJ— Military Times (@MilitaryTimes) January 20, 2016
The initial case was closed in August, but another investigation has apparently begun after a few more interesting items were found on the hard drive — and not just the corpse photo, the New York Daily News explained.
Firstly, investigators allegedly unearthed the unauthorized photo of Osama bin Laden’s corpse, the discovery of which Luskin wouldn’t confirm. The government has attempted to keep the corpse photo out of the public eye, citing national security reasons and fear that the images would instigate some kind of backlash.
However, in the days after the raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, several grisly photos of the terrorist leader’s cronies were published by Reuters.
But apparently, the possession of one photo is only part of Matthew’s troubles. In the same probe that discovered the bloody snapshot, investigators discovered something else: evidence of illegal business activity. And now, the scope of the probe has widened.
Bissonnette was a consultant to equipment suppliers for SEAL Team 6, but now the investigation is focusing on whether or not this role may have been tainted by personal business dealings based on some emails and records dealing with his role.
He allegedly had business ventures with military equipment suppliers who provided products to SEAL Team 6 and are exploring how those ventures influenced the process. The Navy is investigating a company Matthew set up, called Element Group, now closed.
So far, payments of several hundred thousand dollars have been uncovered, which were paid to Element Group from a defense department contractor called Atlantic Diving Supply. ADS sold equipment to SEAL Team 6.
No Easy Day was released in 2012 after Matthew was honorably discharged from the Navy. In writing about the Osama bin Laden raid, he broke a code of silence among SEAL members, who sign nondisclosure agreements. On top of that, former members who blab about their experiences on the battlefield are widely hated by colleagues.
Bissonnette claimed that his attorney told him the book’s manuscript didn’t need to be reviewed by the Defense Department, which military rules actually did require him to do, and he’s since sued that attorney. And back in 2014, he inked a deal with the Pentagon and Justice Department that required him to fork over his profits from his account of the Osama bin Laden raid, estimated to be millions of dollars.
Fellow team member Rob O’Neil is credited with the killing of Osama bin Laden, but Matthew may have also fired fatal rounds.
[Photo via AP]