Exiled whistleblower Edward Snowden will forfeit to the American government $5 million in profits from his book and speeches, CNN reports.
The forfeiture is the result of a lawsuit that the Department of Justice filed against Snowden last year. The government argued that Snowden failed to submit the manuscript for his book, Permanent Record, to the NSA and the CIA for review, thus violating a nondisclosure agreement he had signed while working as a CIA subcontractor.
In 2019, Macmillan imprint Metropolitan Books published Snowden’s memoir, Permanent Record. The book quickly became a bestseller, earning Snowden more than $4 million.
The U.S. government sued Snowden over the book, and prevailed, with a judge ruling that Snowden would be unable to keep his profits from the memoir.
Despite the ruling, it’s not clear that the government will be able to actually collect the money from Snowden. CNN reports that the whistleblower might appeal the court’s initial decision.
“This is not like he’s going to fork over the money,” Snowden’s lawyer, Lawrence Lustberg, said. “This gives them a judgment they were going to get anyways.”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.