A second charity is refusing to accept donations from former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, author of the bestelling book No Easy Day about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, The Atlantic Wire has confirmed. The decision by the charities could loom large if the government takes legal action against Bissonnette.
On Friday, the Navy SEAL Foundation refused to accept proceeds from the sale of the book No Easy Day citing Pentagon accusations that the author leaked classified information about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. Today, Patt Dossett, director of the Tip of the Spear Foundation, tells The Atlantic Wire his charity is following suit. "We are not accepting proceeds from the sale of this book," he said, noting that the organization's ability to help SEAL veterans and families "is based upon a level of trust placed in us ... The Foundation takes very seriously the protection of the men and the mission." Meanwhile, a third Navy SEAL charity, the All in All the Time Foundation, tells the Virginia Pilot it hasn't yet decided if it will accept Bissonnette's money. Those three organizations make up the entirety of charitable groups cited by Bissonnette in his book as worthy of receiving financial support. "Help me raise millions of dollars for these organizations," Bissonnette writes in the book's last chapter.
The reason the charities' decisions matter is because from day one Bissonnette has said the "majority" of the book's proceeds would go to charities that support Navy SEALs. It was a move that was both admirable and savvy given the Pentagon's threat of seizing the book's proceeds. It was inevitable that if the Pentagon decided to bring legal action against Bissonnette, critics would decry the Obama administration for seizing money intended for injured Navy SEAL veterans and their families. Now the Defense Department can cite the prominent SEAL charities that distanced themselves from Bissonnette should such a controversy arise.
So does Bissonnette have a backup plan if his third charity decides to abandon him? We reached out to his publisher Dutton, an imprint of Penguin, which has been speaking for Bissonnette. Spokeswoman Christine Ball said Bissonnette had no need for a backup plan, referring to him under his penname Mark Owen. "Mark is giving the majority of the proceeds from his book to charity but he has never said where," she said. "The three charities in the back of the book are just places he suggest readers donate if they want to help." While true it seems unlikely that Bissonnette wasn't planning on donating to the three charities given that no other ones were mentioned in his book or elsewhere. Regardless, whoever gets the cash, there's likely to be plenty of it. The book has skyrocketed to the top of e-Books and Amazon.com bestseller lists coming off a spate of media attention and last night's appearance on 60 Minutes.