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The U.S. is suing Snowden over the publication of his autobiography

Michael B. Kelley
Head of Audience Development

The U.S. government is suing former NSA contractor Edward Snowden over the publication of his autobiography in an attempt to block the American from profiting from the project.

“The United States today filed a lawsuit against Edward Snowden, a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), who published a book entitled Permanent Record in violation of the non-disclosure agreements he signed with both CIA and NSA,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

Snowden's autobiography "Permanent Record." (Photo: McMillan Publishers)

Snowden responded by tweet, stating: “The government of the United States has just announced a lawsuit over my memoir, which was just released today worldwide. This is the book the government does not want you to read.”

Listen to the Snowden story on The Art Of The Exit

Snowden captured the world’s attention in June 2013 after he allegedly removed more than 1.5 million classified U.S. documents while working as a contractor for the NSA in Hawaii. He traveled to Hong Kong, provided an estimated 200,000 documents to American journalists, identified himself in a video published by the Guardian, provided more documents to the South China Morning Post, and then fled to Moscow.

The 36-year-old still lives in Russia, where he primarily makes money by charging speaking fees to appear to audiences around the world.

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 26: Computer security consultant Edward Snowden in connection from Russia during the Wired Next Fest 2019 at the Giardini Indro Montanelli on May 26, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images)

The announcement added that the U.S. government “seeks to recover all proceeds earned by Snowden because of his failure to submit his publication for pre-publication review in violation of his alleged contractual and fiduciary obligations.”

The U.S. is also suing the publisher, Macmillan, “to ensure that no funds are transferred to Snowden, or at his direction, while the court resolves the United States’ claims.”

Macmillan did not respond to a request for comment.

READ MORE: Snowden’s book doesn’t mention a job at ‘one of Russia’s biggest websites,’ and former CIA officials suspect a darker reality

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