Back in September, whistleblower Edward Snowden published his memoir Permanent Record.
Since then, the book has courted controversy including being censored in China and earning a lawsuit from the US Justice Department.
The latter is our focus today.
The US government argued that Snowden had not allowed it to review his work prior to publication and in doing so had breached secrecy agreements.
As Snowden had been employed by the National Security Agency before he blew the whistle on its activities, it appears he is beholden to those rules.
As such, Judge Liam O’Grady has sided with government and ruled it was entitled to the profits generated from Permanent Record.
“Snowden’s public comments and displays, which occurred without the prepublication review, breached the CIA and NSA Secrecy agreements and their attendant fiduciary duties,” O’Grady said.
“Because both the CIA and NSA Secrecy Agreements prohibit unauthorized publication of certain information, and Snowden’s speeches and visual aids disclose those types of information the Government is entitled to summary judgement,” the judge concluded.
According to The Verge, a senior attorney at the American Civil Liberities Union who worked on Snowden’s legal team, Brett Max Kaufman, will review their options.
“It’s more clear than ever that the unfair and opaque prepublication review system affecting millions of former government employees needs major reforms,” said Kaufman
The idea that the NSA and CIA would have given Snowden’s book a fair shake is questionable but as O’Grady pointed out, because that never happened, determining what would have happened is impossible.
What Snowden does next is unclear but since he is no longer making a profit from the book we do wonder if he’ll simply put it online for free. Sure it’s a stretch but Snowden went so far as to translate the censored sections of Permanent Record and post them online for free.
The man is not above such things and the next few days should prove interesting.