Former CIA analyst Edward Snowden has agreed to hand the US government over $5 million in earnings from his book and speaking fees, after his memoir, Permanent Record, violated a nondisclosure agreement he signed with the agency. The money will go into a trust.
A federal judge sided with the Justice Department, which sued the former contractor who leaked US intelligence secrets in 2013 which exposed US surveillance programs. The judge has yet to approve the forfeiture plan, according to the Washington Examiner.
Snowden made more than $4 million in book sales and a little over $1 million across 56 paid speaking engagements over the last year, according to court documents.
Still, Snowden's attorney, Lawrence Lustberg, said his 37-year-old client is considering an appeal of the decision, and no money will be paid to the U.S. government right away.
"This is not like he's going to fork over the money,” the attorney told CNN. “This gives them a judgment they were going to get anyways.” -Washington Examiner
In 2013, Snowden left his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii where he worked for contractor Booz Allen Hamilton - fleeing to Hong Kong where he subsequently disclosed hundreds of thousands of NSA documents. He was granted asylum by Russia and currently lives in Moscow, and was charged by the DOJ with violating the Espionage Act.
Last month, President Trump told reporters that he was going "to take a very good look at" pardoning Snowden, saying "There are many, many people — it seems to be a split decision that many people think that he should be somehow treated differently, and other people think he did very bad things."