A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the US government is entitled to the proceeds from Edward Snowden's memoir, as well as any money he earns from paid speeches, because the former National Security Agency employee disclosed classified information without approval, according to the Washington Post.
Judge Liam O'Grade of the Alexandria, VA federal circuit wrote in his brief that "The contractual language of the Secrecy Agreements is unambiguous," adding "Snowden accepted employment and benefits conditioned upon prepublication review obligations.'
Snowden's attorneys and the ACLU have cried foul.
"It’s farfetched to believe that the government would have reviewed Mr. Snowden’s book or anything else he submitted in good faith. For that reason, Mr. Snowden preferred to risk his future royalties than to subject his experiences to improper government censorship," said ACLU staff attorney Max Kaufman in a Tuesday statement.
Snowden, meanwhile, acknowledged in a "Daily Show" interview that he breached his NSA and CIA contract by failing to allow them to review the book prior to publication - arguing that he didn't want to "let the CIA edit [my] life story."
Snowden famously exposed the US government's mass data collections, and is now living in Russia where he is avoiding extradition to the United States to stand trial. He says he would return, but only if allowed to defend himself at trial by asserting that his leaks were done in the public interest - a defense not allowed under US law.