The United States government today filed a lawsuit against Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA and NSA government agencies who made headlines worldwide in 2013 when he fled the country and leaked top-secret information about NSA’s global and domestic surveillance activities.
And you would be more surprised to know the reason for this lawsuit—No, Snowden has not been sued for leaking NSA secrets, instead for publishing a book without submitting it to the agencies for pre-publication review.
In his latest book, titled “Permanent Record” and released today on September 17th, Edward Snowden for the first time revealed the story of his life, including how he helped the agency to built that surveillance system.
Permanent Record also details about the aftermath of Snowden decision to disclose hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents exposing the United States mass surveillance programs to the world.
According to a press release U.S. Department of Justice just published, Snowden has violated non-disclosure agreements he signed with both CIA and NSA agencies with the publication of his book, Permanent Record.
The lawsuit alleges that Snowden published Permanent Record without first submitting the book to the agencies for pre-publication review and also gave public speeches on intelligence-related matters, violating the agreements he signed with the agencies.
What’s more interesting, the United States government is not looking to stop or restrict the publication or distribution of Permanent Record, but instead, is seeking to recover all proceeds earned by Snowden.
“The government seeks 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 press release reads.
Besides Snowden, the US government is also suing the publisher solely to ensure that no funds are transferred to Snowden, or any account at his direction, while the court resolves the United States’ claims.
“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,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.
“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.”
This lawsuit is separate from the legal criminal charges brought against Snowden for his alleged disclosures of classified information about US mass surveillance programs like PRISM, DROPOUTJEEP, XKeyscore, MUSCULAR and many more.
Living in Russia since 2013 after the revelation of secret surveillance programs by U.S. intelligence agencies, Snowden has just recently appealed to France’s government to grant him asylum.
The whistleblower said he tried to apply for asylum in France in 2013, when former President Francois Hollande was in power, but was unsuccessful.