Whatever profits Edward Snowden’s book “Permanent Record” has earned since its September release will need to be handed over to the US government, thanks to a new ruling from a federal judge.
Profits from Edward Snowden’s memoir, ‘Permanent Record,’ must be handed over to the US government, a federal judge has ruled, all because the whistleblower didn’t let intelligence agencies vet the work before its publication.
Judge Liam O’Grady ruled in federal court in Virginia this week that because Snowden did not first submit his book to the NSA or CIA for approval – something government employees with high enough security clearances are forced to do– the US government is entitled to profits from the work, as well as money earned from any paid speeches related to the book.
“The contractual language of the Secrecy Agreements is unambiguous,” O’Grady said in his ruling. “Snowden accepted employment and benefits conditioned upon pre-publication review obligations.”
It should come as little surprise that the man who stands against the US intelligence community spying on its own citizens did not want his book to come under the eyes of that same system in pre-publication.
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Snowden’s lawyer responded to the court’s decision by saying the NSA whistleblower preferred to risk losing potential book earnings in exchange for releasing his story unfiltered and untouched by US government officials.
“It’s far-fetched to believe that the government would have reviewed Mr Snowden’s book, or anything else he submitted, in good faith,” Brett Max Kaufman of the ACLU Center for Democracy said. “For that reason, Mr Snowden preferred to risk his future royalties than to subject his experiences to improper government censorship.”
The US has been trying to prosecute Snowden for espionage since he leaked details about the NSA’s mass electronic surveillance program in 2013, revealing the government was collecting data on citizens’ phone calls without obtaining individual warrants. Snowden managed to flee the country before being apprehended, and currently resides in Moscow, where he has been granted asylum.
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