The Department of Justice on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Edward Snowden, claiming his memoir Permanent Record is in violation of non-disclosure agreements he signed with both the CIA and NSA. Snowden, a former CIA employee and NSA contractor living in hiding somewhere outside the United States, signed agreements that require employees to submit any material regarding the agencies for review prior to publication. “Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger. “This lawsuit will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him.”
The book, which The Daily Beast obtained a copy of ahead of its Tuesday release, does not share new state secrets, but does offer a new insight into Snowden’s experience becoming an enemy of the state. The lawsuit does not seek to stop the book’s publication, but does aim to “recover all proceeds earned by Snowden,” according to a DOJ press release. To do so, the DOJ has also included the book’s publisher in the lawsuit to “ensure that no funds are transferred to Snowden.” “We will not permit individuals to enrich themselves, at the expense of the United States,” said DOJ Civil Division Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt.
Snowden’s attorney, Ben Wizner, said the U.S. government “continues to insist that facts that are known and discussed throughout the world are still somehow classified.” “He hopes that today’s lawsuit by the United States government will bring the book to the attention of more readers throughout the world,” Wizner wrote in a statement.