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Topline: Edward Snowden, still considered a traitor by the U.S. government, had the much-hyped Tuesday release of his new memoir Permanent Record dampened by the news that the Department of Justice is suing the former NSA contractor and famed whistleblower for all proceeds from the book.
- The suit asks for all proceeds earned from the sale of Permanent Record because he failed to submit the memoir for preapproval by U.S. intelligence agencies, which violates nondisclosure agreements he signed when he joined the NSA and CIA.
- The civil suit is separate from the criminal case pending against Snowden for disclosing classified information.
- The lawsuit doesn’t seek to stop the publication of the book.
- After the lawsuit was announced, Permanent Record vaulted to the top of Amazon’s best seller list.
Macmillan, which published Permanent Record, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes. Macmillan is also named in the suit “to ensure that no funds are transferred to Snowden, or at his direction” while the case is ongoing, the DOJ said in a press release.
Crucial quote: “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.”
Chief critic: In response to the lawsuit, Snowden called Permanent Record “the book the government doesn’t want you to read.”
“The publisher should print excerpts from the government’s furious objection to the publication of this book on the cover of every copy. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a book that both the CIA *and* the NSA consider too dangerous to be read,” he tweeted.
Key background: Snowden is living in Russia, which granted him asylum, after having leaked documents in 2013 detailing U.S. government surveillance programs run by the NSA. The subsequent reporting based on Snowden’s leaks earned the Washington Post and the Guardian the Pulitzer Prize.
Snowden is now an advocate for privacy and maintains that the U.S. government has failed to show evidence that the information he leaked has caused harm.
Further reading: Read the full complaint here.