Leon Panetta. (Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
By David Jackson, USA TODAY
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is suggesting some kind of punishment for the retired Navy SEAL who wrote a book about the Osama bin Laden military operation.
"I think we have to take steps to make clear to him and to the American people that we're not going to accept this kind of behavior," Panetta said today on CBS This Morning.
Panetta said that "people who are part of that operation -- who commit themselves to the promise that they will not reveal the sensitive operations and not publish anything without bringing it through the Pentagon, so that we can ensure that it doesn't reveal sensitive information -- when they fail to do that, we have got to make sure that they stand by the promise they made to this country."
Written under the pseudonym Mark Owen, the book details the nighttime raid into Pakistan that killed bin Laden in May 2011.
Panetta said people do have a right to know about this operation, and that's why "the president spoke to the American people when that operation happened. And, yes, you know, they have a right to know that there were those that put their lives on the line in order to conduct that operation.'
But discussing specific details of the operation in public is another matter, said the Pentagon:
"I cannot, as secretary, send a signal to SEALs who conduct those operations, 'Oh, you can conduct these operations and then go out and write a book about it ... and/or sell your story to TheNew York Times.'
How the hell can we run sensitive operations here that go after enemies if people are allowed to do that?"