Snowden Faces Possible Sanctions in Suit Over Tell-All Book
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. said it will ask a judge to sanction former Central Intelligence Agency employee Edward Snowden for failing to turn over evidence in the government’s lawsuit over his tell-all memoir, “Permanent Record,” which was found to illegally disclose classified information.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan on Monday extended the government’s deadline by two weeks, to July 27, to seek information from Snowden after the U.S. complained of his “blanket refusal to participate in discovery” related to the book as well as speeches he gave after he exposed U.S. secrets in 2013.
Snowden, who was a National Security Agency contractor after leaving the CIA, was sued in September for failing to submit his book to the agencies for pre-publication review as required under his contracts. The U.S. is seeking all profits from the book and any payments Snowden received from four speeches he gave in which classified documents were used as slides.
In December, U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled Snowden was liable for violating the contracts, setting in motion U.S. demands for evidence about how much money he made from the speeches.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Snowden, declined to comment. The organization previously said in court filings that the government is stretching the limits of how it can use NDAs to silence former employees by targeting their speeches.
The ACLU argued in a court filing that the government’s interpretation of the secrecy agreement would “require former public servants to submit for review anything intelligence-related that they ever expected to discuss, for the rest of their lives -- not only as invited speakers delivering pre-drafted speeches, but also as panelists or guest commentators answering live questions, as family members discussing the news over morning coffee, or as ordinary citizens in any other extemporaneous circumstance.”
While Snowden ignored the government’s requests for information, the U.S. was able to get some evidence by issuing subpoenas to American Program Bureau, a speaker’s organization that assisted Snowden in arranging at least 67 public speaking engagements and collecting payments, according to the filing.
Snowden, who is living in or near Moscow, has defended his decision to reveal top-secret NSA surveillance programs, including the hacking of private internet systems and widespread spying on allies and adversaries of the U.S.
Buchanan set a final pre-trial hearing for Aug. 7.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.