"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 release said.
The lawsuit alleges that Snowden failed to submit his book for pre-publication review and had given public speeches on intelligence-related matters, the release said.
The United States will not seek to block the publication or distribution of Snowden's book, but it will seek to recover all proceeds earned by Snowden, the release said. It added that the United States is also suing the publisher of Snowden's book in order to ensure he does not receive any funds.
This lawsuit is a civil action and separate from the criminal charges he faces in the United States for his alleged disclosure of classified information, the release said.
"The US government has a strong legal argument that Snowden's book should have been submitted for prepublication review. Failure to do so was not a crime, but it is a violation of a binding contractual obligation. So the government will probably be able to seize any financial proceeds from the book, as it has done in similar cases in the past. But I imagine that Snowden did not write the book for financial gain," Steven Aftergood, Director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said.
Earlier this week, the National Security Agency's whistleblower gave an interview to MSNBC TV network to talk about his book and his revelations on the US government's spying programme.
According to Francis Boyle, an international law professor at the University of Illinois’s College of Law, the United States government has been engaging in a massive violation of the Fourth Amendment Rights of the American People under the terms of the US Constitution. In his opinion, Snowden did a real public service for all Americans by bringing this matter to their attention, at great personal risk to himself.
"Snowden is a Hero, not a ‘traitor’. The US government has abused the Espionage Act in order to prosecute Snowden criminally, and now they are stealing the proceeds of his book. The United States government has likewise persecuted Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange for resisting its own criminal behaviour to the best of their abilities under the circumstances of US governmental lawlessness and criminality that confronted them. These are Three People of Conscience who deserve our support", Boyle concluded.
In 2014, Snowden received a three-year residence permit to live in Russia. In 2017, his residence permit was extended for three more years. Earlier this month media reported that Snowden married his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, in a Russian courthouse two years ago.
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