Snowden’s lawyers filed papers Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria responding to the lawsuit. He argues that the government is selectively enforcing its rules. He also says the CIA and NSA never would have given Snowden a fair shake if he had followed the rules of his secrecy agreements and submitted his book for prepublication review.
“There is a strong likelihood that the government would have subjected Mr. Snowden specifically to such discriminatory treatment,” Snowden’s lawyers wrote. “A whistleblower the government considers to be a traitor would have been seeking permission from the very agencies on which he blew the whistle to speak about his views on surveillance.”
Snowden’s attorneys, including lawyers from the ACLU, also say the government has a history of approving books it considers favorable to the intelligence community and rejecting those that cast it in an unfavorable light.
A hearing is scheduled for December. Snowden is currently living in Moscow. He also faces criminal charges for his disclosures about government surveillance programs, but the criminal case has stalled because the government has so far been unable to extradite him.
The civil case, on the other hand, can go forward without Snowden’s presence in the U.S. A CIA spokesperson declined to comment Wednesday. The prepublication review process required by the CIA and NSA is the subject of an ACLU lawsuit filed earlier this year, arguing that it gives the government too much power to suppress free speech.