U.S. Justice Department Sues Edward Snowden Over His New Memoir

By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter

September 17, 2019

Edward Snowden Speaks To The Guardian

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Edward Snowden on Tuesday over the publication of a new memoir that they say violates non-disclosure agreements he signed with the CIA and National Security Agency.

The lawsuit claims that Snowden, who is currently living in exile in Moscow, violated the agreements he made with the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency after publishing the book without first submitting the manuscript to the department for pre-publication review.

The lawsuit by the Justice Department isn't seeking to halt sales of Snowden's book, "Permanent Record," which debuted in stores in more than 20 countries on Tuesday. However, the lawsuit does seek the proceeds from all sales of Snowden's volume which reportedly reveals new details about Snowden's decision to steal data from the NSA about how the agency conducted mass surveillance on American citizens in 2013.

Snowden was later charged with espionage by President Barack Obama's Justice Department.

“Edward Snowden has violated an obligation he undertook to the United States when he signed agreements as part of his employment by the CIA and as an NSA contractor,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “The United States’ ability to protect sensitive national security information depends on employees’ and contractors’ compliance with their non-disclosure agreements, including their pre-publication review obligations. This lawsuit demonstrates that the Department of Justice does not tolerate these breaches of the public’s trust. We will not permit individuals to enrich themselves, at the expense of the United States, without complying with their pre-publication review obligations.”

The lawsuit also names the book's publisher, Macmillan, asking that no revenue is transferred from the publisher to Snowden, who is still living in Moscow after he fled the U.S. while facing charges that could land him in jail.

“Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This lawsuit will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him.”

Snowden's leaks led to revelations about the U.S. government's mass surveillance program, which accessed the cell phone records of millions of Americans.

Photo: Getty Images

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