By Andrew Santana
August 23, 2012 at 04:57 PM EDT

A U.S. Navy SEAL who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden has written an anonymous first-hand, blow-by-blow account of the operation to be released on Sept. 11.

No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden is described by its author, writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen, as an effort “to set the record straight about one of the most important missions in US military history.”  Penguin, the book’s publisher, added that the work provides a “blow-by-blow narrative of the assault, beginning with the helicopter crash that could have ended Owen’s life to the radio call confirming Bin Laden’s death.”

The project had been top secret within Penguin — word had not even reached Washington before yesterday’s announcement. The US government was said to be surprised by news of the book’s release and admitted to not having had the opportunity to review the book for any potential security breaches.

Should it be deemed that there is classified information in the book, Owen could face criminal charges.

As the NY Times notes, the book could also become a centerpiece for partisan debate in the months leading up to the November election.  Such was certainly the case with the Kathryn Bigelow film Zero Dark Thirty.  Earlier this year, the movie, which chronicles the decade-long hunt for bin Laden post 9/11, was postponed from its original October release date to December, seemingly as a concession to pressure from Republican partisans who said it “would help dramatize one of the president’s signature achievements right before the election.”

As of now, Penguin appears set on moving forward with its 9/11 anniversary release date.

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