Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Whistleblower Edward Snowden's new memoir violates the non-disclosure agreements he signed while working for the government, the Justice Department said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
The court action comes on the day Snowden's book, Permanent Record, hit bookshelves.
The Justice Department said Snowden published the book without first submitting it to the CIA and National Security Agency for review, "in violation of his express obligations under the agreements he signed." In addition to the book, the lawsuit said he violated the NDA by giving speeches on intelligence-related matters.
Snowden worked for the CIA from 2006-09 and then became a subcontractor for the NSA from 2009-13. In June 2013, he released thousands of classified NSA documents revealing global surveillance programs run by the agency and European governments.
The Justice Department said that rather than halting the publication and distribution of Permanent Record, it's seeking all the proceeds Snowden earned from the sale of the book. The lawsuit also names Macmillan Publishers and Holtzbrinck Publishers "solely to ensure that no funds are transferred to Snowden, or at his direction, while the court resolves the United States' claims," the department said.
"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.
"This lawsuit demonstrates that the Department of Justice does not tolerate these breaches of the public's trust. We will not permit individuals to enrich themselves, at the expense of the United States, without complying with their pre-publication review obligations."
Snowden encouraged his Twitter followers to read "the book the government does not want you to read" by posting a link to purchase it.
"It is hard to think of a greater stamp of authenticity than the U.S. government filing a lawsuit claiming your book is so truthful that it was literally against the law to write," he said.
"The publisher should print excerpts from the government's furious objection to the publication of this book on the cover of every copy. I'm not sure I've ever seen a book that both the CIA and the NSA consider too dangerous to be read."
Snowden has spent the past six years in exile in Russia after the United States charged him with two counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property. In an interview on CBS' This Morning on Monday, he said he wants to return to the United States, but only if he gets a fair trial.
"I would like to return to the United States," Snowden said. "This is the ultimate goal. But if I'm going to spend the rest of my life in prison, the bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial. And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won't provide access to what's called a public interest defense.
"I'm not asking for a pass," he added. "What I'm asking for is a fair trial. And this is the bottom line that any American should require. We don't want people thrown in prison without the jury being able to decide that what they did was right or wrong.
"The government wants a different kind of trial," he continued. "They want to use special procedures they want to be able to close the courtroom, they want the public not to be able to go, know what's going on."