Earlier this week Edward Snowden released his tell all novel, Permanent Record. The novel reveals Snowden’s work on the systems he would ultimately expose and what led him to expose his government.
The book has been incredibly well received, it even hit the number one spot on Amazon’s Bestseller list on day of release, but the book has seemingly not been well received by everybody.
Case in point is the US government which has filed a lawsuit against Snowden seeking to claim any profits he makes from his book.
The reason appears to be that Snowden didn’t have his book pre-reviewed before being published.
“The United States’ ability to protect sensitive national security information depends on employees’ and contractors’ compliance with their non-disclosure agreements, including their pre-publication review obligations,” assistant attorney general, Jody Hunt said in a statement sent to Deutsche Welle.
“We will not permit individuals to enrich themselves, at the expense of the United States, without complying with their pre-publication review obligations,” added Hunt.
An excerpt from the lawsuit tweeted out by Snowden himself reads, “Snowden did not, at any time, submit the manuscript for Permanent Record to either the CIA or NSA for prepublication review. Nor did Snowden obtain written approval from CIA or NSA prior to sharing manuscripts with Macmillan or prior to the book’s publication.”
The idea that Snowden should have sought approval from intelligence agencies is laughable and the director for the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, Ben Wizner says this lawsuit will bring the book into a global conversation.
“Mr. Snowden wrote this book to continue a global conversation about mass surveillance and free societies that his actions helped inspire. He hopes that today’s lawsuit by the United States government will bring the book to the attention of more readers throughout the world,” Wizner wrote.
Of course Snowden hasn’t remained quiet on this matter.
“It is hard to think of a greater stamp of authenticity than the US government filing a lawsuit claiming your book is so truthful that it was literally against the law to write,” the former NSA contractor said.
Snowden went on to quip that the publisher of Permanent Record should put excerpts from the lawsuit on the cover. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a book that both the CIA *and* the NSA consider too dangerous to be read,” he said.
Permanent Record is available in South Africa through Takealot, Raru and Exclusive Books among others, and we’ve just ordered our copy.