The Department of Justice issued a statement today regarding the final judgment from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, against Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency.
The statement read in part, "In December 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, found in favor of the United States in the suit against Snowden on the issue of liability and held that Snowden breached his contractual and fiduciary obligations to the CIA and NSA by publishing Permanent Record and giving prepared remarks within the scope of his pre-publication review obligations, but reserved judgment on the scope of these violations or the remedies due to the government. On Tuesday, the court entered judgment in the government’s favor in an amount exceeding $5.2 million and imposed a constructive trust for the benefit of the United States over those sums and any further monies, royalties, or other financial advantages derived by Snowden from Permanent Record and 56 specific speeches."
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said, “Edward Snowden violated his legal obligations to the United States, and therefore, his unlawful financial gains must be relinquished to the government.” He added, “As this case demonstrates, the Department of Justice will not overlook the wrongful actions of those who seek to betray the trust reposed in them and to personally profit from their access to classified national security information.”
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia said, “Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit." He added, “This judgment will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him.”
Jeffrey Bossert Clark, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division said, “We will pursue those who take advantage of sensitive positions in government to profit from the classified information learned during their government service.”
According to the Washington Examiner, U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady entered the final judgment against Mr. Snowden in federal court in Alexandria, Va., after lawyers on both sides of the dispute recently agreed to the sum. Mr. Snowden, who is wanted in the U.S. for leaking state secrets and has lived in Russia for several years, previously argued he is both literally and financially in no place to pay.
The Hill reported the court decision comes after President Trump said last month that he was “looking at” pardoning Snowden, despite calling Snowden a "terrible threat" and a "terrible traitor” in 2013. “There are many, many people — It seems to be a split decision that many people think that he should be somehow treated differently, and other people think he did very bad things,” Trump said of Snowden at a news conference at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. “And I’m going to take a very good look at it.”
Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press last month that he is “vehemently opposed” to a potential Snowden pardon.
This lawsuit is separate from the criminal charges brought against Snowden for his alleged disclosures of classified information. This lawsuit is a civil action and based solely on Snowden’s failure to comply with the clear pre-publication review obligations included in his signed non-disclosure agreements.