New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Government censorship of Navy SEAL novel strikes freedom

A controversial new book will be hitting shelves today, which details the Navy SEALs’ mission to kill al-Qaeda founder, Osama bin Laden, last May. Matt Bissonnette, under the pseudonym “Mark Owen,” is now under fire over the information he releases in his book, “No Easy Day.” The author provides an account of his journey as a Navy SEAL, including the events leading up to the raid and subsequent death of bin Laden.

Bissonnette’s account heavily contradicts those that have already been publicized by the government in regards to how bin Laden died. The emergence of a different account puts into question the credibility of government statements on this issue.

The WSN Editorial Board believes Bissonnette should not be prosecuted by the Department of Defense. As proponents of free speech and government transparency, we believe he has the right to share and the public is entitled to know the details of one of the most significant U.S. current events.

If the book had included information that posed a threat to national security, then the government would be justified to block the publication. However, according to a New York Times Review, the book avoids disclosing classified information and partisan advocacy. It discusses the details of the raid and evinces in the mind-set of the SEALs involved. Given these circumstances, pressing charges against the author only paints the U.S. as an overly aggressive censor, when in fact the government should be an advocate for free speech.

The black and white laws meant to protect national security are veiled by the red, white and blue imagery that have come to define this occasion. However, when the application of gag laws is exploited by the government for political gain, the purpose of the laws are diluted and delegitimized. The publication of this book provides a public service as part of Mr. Bissonette’s personal narrative of the raid.

We laud any efforts to maintain an open discourse on issues of importance to the citizenry and military alike. The government should be determined to promote the patriotic undertaking of telling the truth rather than deterring those brave enough to tell it.

A version of the article appeared in the Sept. 4 print edition. Email the Editorial Board at [email protected].

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