Whistleblower Edward Snowden Sued By Justice Department Over New Book, ‘Permanent Record’

The federal law enforcement agency claims Snowden violated non-disclosure agreements.

Edward Snowden speaks via video link at a news conference
Spencer Platt / Getty images

The federal law enforcement agency claims Snowden violated non-disclosure agreements.

The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that it is suing National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, whose new book, Permanent Record, wasn’t submitted for Justice Department review and which the Department alleges violates the non-disclosure agreements he signed with the CIA and NSA.

As NBC News reports, Snowden is a former NSA contractor who, in 2013, leaked classified information that he’d learned while working for the intelligence agency. Specifically, Snowden revealed that the agency was engaged in warrantless mass telephone surveillance and other practices he deemed unethical. He eventually fled to Moscow, where he’s been living in exile ever since.

On Tuesday, he released his long-expected book, Permanent Record. As The Guardian reports, the book will, in part, give insight into Snowden’s background, his work with NSA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, and what led him to disclose the revelations that sent shock waves across the USA’s and the United Kingdom’s intelligence agencies.

“[The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks ushered in] a litany of American destruction by way of American self-destruction, with the promulgation of secret policies, secret laws, secret courts and secret wars,” Snowden said.

He also spoke of how, in the years since he fled the U.S., surveillance technology has only gotten more sophisticated and more intrusive.

edward snowden in 2013
  Laura Poitras / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

For example, Snowden says that, as facial-recognition and pattern-recognition technology gets better, it won’t be long before a surveillance camera is itself an instrument of law enforcement.

“An AI-equipped surveillance camera would be not a mere recording device, but could be made into something closer to an automated police officer,” he says.

The Justice Department, however, says that Snowden should have first submitted his book to the agency for review, since it likely contains classified information and/or other state secrets.

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“The lawsuit alleges that Snowden published his book without submitting it to the agencies for pre-publication review, in violation of his express obligations under the agreements he signed,” said the Justice Department in a news release from Tuesday.

The department seeks all of the money Snowden earns from the book.

After laying low in Moscow for the past few years, Snowden re-emerged this week in advance of the publication of his new book. On Monday, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr, Snowden said that he is interested in returning to the United States. Since he is still officially a fugitive from justice, he would almost certainly be arrested on arrival, which Snowden doesn’t discount. He does, however, say that he’s interested in getting a “fair trial.”