Former National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to officially release his memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” on Tuesday, despite violating his non-disclosure agreement with the Trump administration.
Attorney General Bill Barr just notified Bolton that since he has not submitted to the White House’s review process before publishing the book, he “forfeits any money from that book to the government.”
The fight isn’t over
Bolton won the fight over whether or not the book can actually be published over the weekend when a federal judge informed the Trump administration that Bolton’s book cannot be stopped from being released in time.
However, that judge issued a scathing criticism of Bolton’s decision to charge ahead with the distribution of the book nationwide in anticipation of its release, pointing out that Bolton opens himself up to criminal charges by doing so.
Legal expert Alan Dershowitz remarked that there is precedent for the federal government also claiming the proceeds from the book sales. In the 1980 Supreme Court case Snepp v. United States, the court ruled that a CIA intelligence analyst in Saigon during the Vietnam War that published his memoir without the agency’s consent was forced to turn over profits from the book to the federal government.
Barr told Fox Host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday that “in our view, there remains – there remains very highly classified material in the book still. And we would like him to address that. And so, under the law, we are bringing a civil action to enforce his agreement that he would do that before publishing.”
Barr indicated that the Justice Department has been asked to step in at the request of the National Security Council. “The process is run through the National Security Council, called pre-publication review, for any book,” Barr added. “And as that wasn’t completed, the National Security Council contacted us. So, that’s initially how the DOJ got involved.”
Barr continued that “the remedy, if he doesn’t complete it, is that he forfeits any money from that book to the government.”
John Jeffries, Jr., a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law agreed that Bolton is in real danger of legal consequences from publishing the book by circumventing established review processes. “The risk that [Bolton] will forego profits is not negligible,” Jeffries, who is an expert in federal courts and criminal law, said. “The risk that he will be subject to criminal sanctions seems to me very small.”
Joseph diGenova, a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, disagreed with Jeffries’ assessment of the risk of criminal charges that Bolton has taken on. “According to published reports, there were classified affidavits filed in the civil case by the Intelligence Community which alleged major compromises of sources and methods, including the identities of persons of great significance,” diGenova told Just the News on Friday.
“If that is all true, not only do I expect the government to file a civil lawsuit under Snepp, but if in fact there are human sources as well as signals intelligence that have been compromised, I expect him to be indicted.”
Barr did not comment on the potential for an indictment of Bolton.