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American Forces Press Service

Author Broke Promise to Country, Panetta Says

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2012 – Military personnel who take part in sensitive operations like the one that took out Osama bin Laden must stand by the promises they made to the United States, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said during an interview broadcast on “CBS This Morning” today.

"There's no question that the American people have a right to know about this operation. This is why the president spoke to the American people when that operation happened," Panetta said. "But 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 to 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 they stand by the promise they made to this country."

Two issues are involved, Panetta said. The first is that the book reveals sensitive information, he explained, and the larger issue is that the author deliberately chose not to have the book reviewed by the Pentagon before publication.

"I cannot, as secretary, send a signal to SEALs who conduct those operations, 'Oh, you can conduct those operations and then go out and write a book about it … or sell your story,'” he said.

“How the hell can we run sensitive operations here that go after enemies if people are allowed to do that?" Panetta added.

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