A former Navy SEAL’s book with his first-hand account of the Osama bin Laden raid hasn’t even hit stores yet, but Hollywood is already knocking at his door.
It was revealed on Sunday that director Steven Spielberg met with the retired commando to discuss making a movie about his experience.
At least two other movie-makers have also met with the Navy SEAL to talk about licensing the story.
The author of ‘No East Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden’ is already risking his life and a jail term by publishing the book.
However, it could come with a big pay-off, the New York Post reports.
In addition to Spielberg, who directed ‘War Horse’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ Dreamworks and HBO’s Richard Plepler have met with the author.
‘He is still talking to DreamWorks and Spielberg,’ a source told the Post.
‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ directed by Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow will open December 19. Sony pushed back its opening to after the presidential election after it was revealed Bigelow was granted special access to the Pentagon and the CIA to make the movie.
The Weinstein Company has suggested it could release its own film about the May 2011 commando raid in Pakistan, ‘Code Name Geronimo’ before the election.
The Navy SEAL’s story is already stirring controversy.
An official al Qaeda website on Friday posted a photograph and the name of the former Navy commando responsible for the book, calling him ‘the dog who murdered the martyr Sheikh Osama bin Laden.’
Meanwhile the head of U.S. Special Operations Command told current and former troops that the military would take legal action against anyone found to have exposed sensitive information that could cause harm to fellow forces.
‘We will pursue every option available to hold members accountable, including criminal prosecution where appropriate,’ Admiral Bill McRaven wrote in an open, unclassified letter emailed to the active-duty special operations community.
‘As current or former members of our special operations community, authors have a moral obligation, and a legal duty, to submit their works for pre-publication security review,’ the admiral wrote.
The book’s publisher announced on Wednesday that ‘No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden’ would tell the real story about the raid in Abottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011.
The book, to be published under the pseudonym ‘Mark Owen,’ is scheduled to be released on September 11 – the 11th anniversary of the devastating terror attacks in New York and Washington, DC.
But the former serviceman’s attempts to remain anonymous were foiled on Thursday, when FoxNews.com identified him as Matt Bissonnette, 36, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, who retired shortly after the bin Laden mission.
By early on Friday, the man’s name, photograph and age had been posted on the ‘the Al-Fidaa Islamic Network’ online forum, one of two websites officially endorsed by al Qaeda, according to Evan Kohlmann, founder of the New York-based security firm Flashpoint Global Partners.
It was followed by comments that called for the man’s death, including one response that said, ‘O’ Allah, kill every one of them,’ and another that said, ‘O’ Allah, make an example of him for the whole world and give him dark days ahead.’
Publisher Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Group, asked news organizations on Thursday to withhold his name.
But that didn’t stop the Associated Press, which later confirmed the the FoxNews.com report through their own sources, and circulated the information through its subscribers.
The revelation had alarm bells ringing in military circles.
Pentagon spokesman Lt Col James Gregory told MailOnline that the release of a former special ops soldier’s identity can be worrisome.
He said: ‘We protect the names of our special ops personnel for security reasons. Any time names are revealed, it’s a concern.’
Lt Col Gregory also joined a chorus of U.S. agencies who claim they had no knowledge of the book before Wednesday, a possible violation of regulations that bar current and former troops from spilling military matters and national security issues.
Other departments, including the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and even the White House, were also caught off-guard.
That could spell trouble for Bissonnette, who may be subject to federal charges if sensitive information appears in the book.
Lt Col Gregory said that since he is now a private citizen, the military could refer the investigation to the Department of Justice.
McRaven’s open letter to the active-duty special operations community said books and films about special operations teams could be useful educational tools, and the military would work with potential authors, but current and former service members would be held accountable if they endangered the safety of U.S. forces.
He said there was ‘a distinct line between recounting a story for the purposes of education or entertainment and telling a story that exposes sensitive activities just to garner greater readership and personal profit.’
Kohlmann said the former Navy SEAL could now be in physical danger from al Qaeda sympathizers seeking revenge for bin Laden’s death, or hoping to gain prestige for themselves.
‘They have a photo of the individual, they have his name, his age,’ Kohlmann said. ‘I wish that all this was bluster, but there are a lot of would-be jihadists out there, including some in North America. This is the ideal opportunity for those kind of people.’
Source: The Daily Mail