The Pentagon is likely to recommend against criminal prosecution of the former Navy SEAL who wrote a book about the Usama bin Laden raid, but is still debating whether to pursue civil action against the author, officials said.

Defense officials appear divided whether to try to punish the former SEAL, Matt Bissonnette, short of prosecution. Some believe any direct punishment would be counterproductive, and the Pentagon should instead focus on emphasizing to other military personnel that unauthorized disclosures are unacceptable.

But other officials believe the best deterrence would be to try and punish Mr. Bissonnette by taking the profits from the book "No Easy Day" in a civil lawsuit.

Such a suit could be filed under a federal law that allows the government to seek profits or money earned by unauthorized disclosure of classified information by people who have signed nondisclosure agreements. Mr. Bissonnette signed a nondisclosure agreement, Pentagon officials said.

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