The Justice Department filed a lawsuit seeking to seize proceeds from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s new book because he did not submit it for prepublication review, The New York Times reports.
The DOJ said in the lawsuit that Snowden did not submit the memoir for review before it was published so that officials could make sure it did not contain any classified information.
Snowden, who revealed top secret documents about the NSA’s wiretapping program in 2013, published his memoir, “Permanent Record,” on Tuesday.
“He recounts his life up to the disclosures, including how he came to be alarmed by the growth of the security agency’s surveillance capabilities — such as its then-secret systematic collection of logs of Americans’ domestic phone calls — and how he copied the documents and provided them to reporters,” The Times reported.
Feds want Snowden’s book proceeds:
The DOJ lawsuit says that Snowden violated his legal obligation to submit the book to the CIA and NSA to vet the manuscript to censor any classified information. The DOJ said that Snowden signed a nondisclosure agreement when he received access to classified information as a contractor which required him to submit any writings related to his work to the agencies for review.
The lawsuit seeks to seize any profits he earned from the book.
“Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement. “This lawsuit will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him.”
Snowden’s attorney denied that the book had any classified information.
“Had Mr. Snowden believed that the government would review his book in good faith, he would have submitted it for review,” Wizner said in a statement. “But the government continues to insist that facts that are known and discussed throughout the world are still somehow classified.”
Snowden also charged with violating Espionage Act:
Snowden was also charged in the Eastern District of Virginia with violating the Espionage Act in 2013 after leaking the NSA documents.
“Snowden has been hailed as a whistle-blower by privacy and civil liberties advocates, while denounced as a traitor by national security officials. His disclosures prompted reforms,” The Times reported. “Among them, Congress ended in 2015 the N.S.A.’s collection of logs of Americans’ phone records. It set up an alternative system where the bulk records remain with phone companies and the agency, with a court’s permission, may access certain logs for counterterrorism analysis. The agency has since shut down that program as well.”
Snowden has said that he will not return to the US because he doesn’t believe he can get a fair trial.