What just happened? To say the US government isn’t a fan of Edward Snowden is an understatement. Now, the man Donald Trump once called a “traitor” who “should be executed” is once again being pursued by the Department of Justice, which is suing the whistleblower for all the profits from the sale of his book.
Back in 2013, Snowden was hired by NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. He later leaked top-secret documents on global surveillance programs run by the NSA to media outlets, which led to the DoJ charging him with two counts of violating the Espionage Act. He has been living in exile in Russia ever since.
This week has seen Snowden publish his memoir—Permanent Record—which has resulted in the US government suing him for “violation of the non-disclosure agreements he signed with both CIA and NSA.” The new civil suit is separate from the criminal charges brought against Snowden.
The suit adds that by not submitting the book to the agencies for review before publication, Snowden is “in violation of his express obligations under the agreements he signed.”
The DoJ said in a statement that it doesn't want to stop the distribution or publication of the book, which is currently fifth in Amazon’s bestseller list; instead, it seeks to recover all proceeds earned by Snowden.
The US is also suing the book’s publishers solely to ensure that no funds are transferred to Snowden, or at his direction, while the court resolves the claims.
“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.”