U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
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Presenter: Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little October 2, 2012
DOD News Briefing with George Little from the Pentagon
on pre-publication review of manuscripts that may contain classified information
Q: And a classification issue. What's the latest thinking in terms of the SEAL book, "No Easy Day," in terms of punitive actions against the author?
MR. LITTLE: Sure. I have no update on this particular book, Tony.
Q: I have to ask you. There's a new book out called "The Endgame," Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor. They quote repeatedly -- and almost brag about the access they've had to troves of secret documents, classified documents, some still secret. Has the department looked at the book and its vetting process and your unauthorized disclosure review to see if whether a leak investigation should be convened?
MR. LITTLE: Well, I wouldn't get into reviews of this kind, Tony, with all due respect. What we're talking about here -- and this is apples and oranges, to use another metaphor -- we take very seriously the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. The difference here, of course, is that "No Easy Day" was written by a former employee of this department and the book that you referenced was written by an outside author.
Now, there may, in fact, be -- I don't know for sure -- but there may be classified information contained in the book. And if so, then that would be of serious concern. But where we go from there is really not something I would discuss publicly.
Q: It's not apples and oranges. They're bragging in their prologue about the unauthorized disclosure of Petraeus to Gates, secret documents that haven't been out yet.
MR. LITTLE: Again, I would say that we deplore the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. We take all of these disclosures very seriously. And I'm not going to get into what process we may or may not invoke with respect to books written by outside authors.
Q: (off mic) are you going to at least review --
MR. LITTLE: It sounds like we're having a good discussion about it.
Q: (off mic) the SEAL is going to get crucified by this agency possibly, and you've got authors bragging about their access to unauthorized documents. There seems to be an inconsistent policy here.
MR. LITTLE: We have a very consistent policy. With respect to our employees, our employees are not to disclose classified information. They supposed to honor their nondisclosure agreements with this department and submit their materials that relate to national security and the U.S. military and intelligence for prepublication review. Outside authors are not necessarily encumbered by the same obligations.
And with respect to unauthorized disclosures that take place inside those books, I'm simply not going to discuss publicly what avenues we may or may not pursue.
Source: Department of Defense