On the very day Edward Snowden's new memoir, "Permanent Record,” hit bookshelves, the US government has filed a lawsuit which could end in the Department of Justice (DOJ) freezing the book's revenue.
The DOJ is alleging the book violates non-disclosure agreements he previously signed when joining the CIA, and also as an NSA contractor.
The government filed the lawsuit Tuesday - and though ironically violating the non-disclosure is certainly the least of his crimes in the US government's eyes, there's nothing the DOJ can do to prosecute him while living under Russian asylum, other than potentially recover funds generated in America through sales of the book.
“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,” a DOJ official statement said. The lawsuit also alleges the whistleblower's public speeches, most of them done via webcam over the internet, violates the ban on sharing unvetted “intelligence-related matters”.
Obviously he's already leaked some of the CIA and NSA's most highly guarded secrets, especially illegal domestic spying - revelations of which rocked the world starting in 2013 - but it appears the government is ensuring he has no way of profiting off of the leaks.
It's standard procedure for any veteran of a US intelligence agency to submit manuscripts of any book related to their time in service ahead of publication to the agencies for review, which ensures nothing sensitive or classified can be revealed once the writer has left government service.
During an interview with “CBS This Morning” on Monday, Snowden said he would ultimately like to return to the United States at some point if "I get a fair trial".
Interestingly he also appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron to grant him asylum, something highly unlikely to actually happen.
As for the potential for a fair jury trial in the US, he said, “That is the ultimate goal, but if I’m going to spend the rest of my life in prison then my one, bottom-line demand that we all have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial.”