USA sues Edward Snowden for profits from his new book

Copies of the book 'Permanent Record' by Edward Snowden are seen on the shelf at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge Massachusetts

The former NSA contractor has been living in Russian Federation since leaking thousands of classified documents to the press in 2013 which revealed the scope of USA government surveillance after 9/11.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where the lawsuit was filed, said the suit was meant to "ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him".

Similar language appeared in a secrecy agreement signed by Snowden when he went to work for the NSA as a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor. Justice Department lawyers say the entitled to all of Snowden's book profits.

"By signing the CIA Secrecy Agreements, Snowden expressly acknowledged that he understood and accepted that the United States Government was placing special confidence and trust in him by granting him access to classified information", says the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the Eastern District of Virginia federal court.

Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project and an attorney for Snowden, blasted the government over the lawsuit, saying Snowden wrote his book in an effort to spur conversation about surveillance and open societies.

Snowden, who fled the 2013 and has been living in Russian Federation, reacted to the lawsuit on Twitter by posting a link promoting his book's release and a statement from an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union.

He faces criminal charges for espionage for publishing the classified information, but said he would return to the United States if he's guaranteed a fair trial.

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In 2013, Snowden released information on methods of electronic surveillance of American intelligence services, including illegal tapping of foreign leaders' talks.

"Permanent Record" was ranked No. 1 on Amazon's bestseller list on its first day on the market. He has since relocated to Russian Federation where he received political asylum.

United States authorities that year indicted Snowden on criminal espionage charges and cancelled his passport while he was at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, Russia.

"But if I'm gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial", he said.

Snowden worked as a contractor for the NSA, from where he took classified information and later leaked it to global media in 2013 and through the subsequent years.

"I'm not asking for a parade".

Greene said he expects the government will argue that the facts disclosed are irrelevant and that a review is contractually required regardless. "I´m not asking for a pass", he said.

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