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Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s book earnings should go to U.S. government, court rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is entitled to more than $5.2 million from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s book royalties, a federal court ruled this week, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.



Edward Snowden on stage with stage lights and an audience: 2019 Right Livelihood Awards


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2019 Right Livelihood Awards

In a statement, the department said the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Tuesday also ruled in favor of setting up a trust for the government for any future earnings from Snowden’s book, which had been the subject of a federal lawsuit.

A lawyer for Snowden did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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In September 2019, the U.S. government sued Snowden, who resides in Russia, over his publication of “Permanent Record”, a book which the United States says violated non-disclosure agreements he signed when working for both NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency.

The United States alleges that Snowden published the book without first submitting it to U.S. agencies for pre-publication review, in violation of agreements he signed when working for the agencies. U.S. authorities did not seek to block publication of Snowden’s book but rather to seize all proceeds.

Last December, a federal court in Virginia found that Snowden did breach his obligations to the CIA and NSA but reserved judgment on possible remedies. In an order issued on Tuesday, the court entered a judgment in the U.S. government’s favor for more than $5.2 million.

The civil litigation over the book is separate from criminal charges prosecutors filed against Snowden under a 1917 U.S. espionage law.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Mark Hosenball, Editing by Franklin Paul and Lisa Shumaker)

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