Politics

US sues Edward Snowden for failing to submit book to government for clearance

Key Points
  • The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on Tuesday for failing to submit his book to the government for clearance.
  • "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," Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said in a statement.
  • The suit is separate from the criminal case the Justice Department is pursuing related to Snowden's alleged disclosures of confidential information.
A woman views the newly published book 'Permanent Record' by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, Edward Snowden at a bookseller in New York, United States on September 17, 2019.
Vural Elibol | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on Tuesday for failing to submit his book to the government for clearance.

"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," Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said in a statement.

Snowden's book "Permanent Record" was published on Tuesday by Macmillan. The publisher, which was also named as a defendant in the suit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a release, the Justice Department said it was seeking to recover "all proceeds earned by Snowden because of his failure to submit his publication for pre-publication review in violation of his alleged contractual and fiduciary obligations."

"The United States is suing the publisher solely to ensure that no funds are transferred to Snowden, or at his direction, while the court resolves the United States' claims," the release said.

The civil lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. It is separate from the criminal case the Justice Department is pursuing related to Snowden's alleged disclosures of confidential information.

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Holder gives Snowden credit

Snowden has been living in exile in Russia since releasing a vast trove of classified documents to journalists in 2013. Reporting by The Guardian and The Washington Post based on Snowden's leaks was awarded the Pulitzer Prize the following year.

The financial arrangement between Snowden and his publisher is not clear. In its complaint, the Justice Department states there is "no publicly available information" about the matter.

Snowden's book "reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down," according to the publisher's website.

In an interview with MSNBC's Brian Williams on Monday, Snowden said that his goal was not to end the NSA, but to "reform" it.

Attorney General William Barr approved Tuesday's lawsuit, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News.