Not So Fast: DOJ Sues Snowden After His Book Violates NDA

The U.S. Department of Justice announced a civil lawsuit against Edward Snowden Tuesday after he released a revealing book and went on the record with MSNBC’s Brian Williams. According to a DOJ press release, Snowden’s book was allegedly “in violation of the non-disclosure agreements he signed with both CIA and NSA.”

The DOJ is not asking the book’s publisher to cease sales, but rather “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.”

“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,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “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. 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.”

In addition to facing the DOJ’s suit, Snowden still has criminal charges against him for leaking classified information that exposed the U.S. intelligence community. His book titled Permanent Record brings that experience to light. Snowden remains in Russia and is pleading the U.S. government to allow him into the country despite charges he may face upon his return.