$5 million judgement imposed on Snowden for book, speeches

Posted at 12:56 PM, October 2, 2020 and last updated 8:49 PM, June 14, 2023

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A federal judge has entered a judgement of more than $5 million against former security contractor Edward Snowden to recover money he received for writing a book and giving speeches about his disclosure of the government’s mass collection of emails, phone calls and internet activity.

The judgment entered this week in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, comes after a judge ruled last year that Snowden violated secrecy agreements that required him to submit books and speeches to the government before publication to ensure classified information is not exposed.

The judgement assigns a value to the amount of money Snowden earned from the book “Permanent Record” and about 100 speeches he gave while living in exile in Russia. He was paid for most of the speeches and the government estimates he disclosed government secrets in dozens of them, based on slides and visual aids that were part of his speech.

“Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, whose office pursued the civil case. “This judgment will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him.”

Snowden’s lawyer, Lawrence Lustberg, said his client can still fight to keep the money from being collected.

“The judgment embodies no more than his acknowledgement of the amounts that he knows the Court would have awarded against him,” Lustberg said in a statement.

The civil judgment is wholly separate from a criminal case against Snowden in the Eastern District of Virginia. The U.S. has been unable to extradite him for trial while he is living in Russia. He is charged under the Espionage Act.

The government says any money received will be placed in a trust “for the benefit of the United States.”