Edward Snowden violated his nondisclosure agreement with the National Security Agency when he published his new memoir without submitting it to the spy agency for review, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the government filed Tuesday.
The suit demands all proceeds from the famed whistleblower’s blockbuster book, “Permanent Record,” which describes how he leaked top secret details about the government’s mass collection of emails, phone calls and Internet activity in the name of national security.
"We will not permit individuals to enrich themselves, at the expense of the United States, without complying with their pre-publication review obligations,” Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said in a statement.
The book was published on Tuesday by Macmillan.
A lawyer for Snowden countered that the former National Security Agency and CIA contract worker did not disclose any government secrets that have not been revealed by news organizations.
"The government continues to insist that facts that are known and discussed throughout the world are still somehow classified,“ said Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Snowden became on of the most famous whistleblowers of all time when he copied thousands of documents detailing the previously unknown government surveillance. He handed them over to journalists with the Guardian and the Washington Post, which published stories on them.
Snowden was charged under the U.S. Espionage Act and fled to Russia to avoid arrest. He still lives there under the shadow of the charges.