After former CIA officer Ishmael Jones wrote a book about the CIA without gaining prior approval from the Agency, the government sought and won a judicial ruling that Jones had acted in violation of his CIA secrecy agreement, and that he could be held liable for the breach.
But the government’s current efforts to seize the financial proceeds from Jones’ 2010 book, “The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture,” have been frustrated by the fact that the author has already given the proceeds away to charity.
In responses to interrogatories that were presented in a government motion last week, Mr. Jones (a pseudonym) said that he had received $29,750 from the publication of his book. But when he got the money, he placed it in custodial accounts for children of American soldiers who died in combat.
“Once Mr. Jones received the Payments, he created accounts that he manages but does not own,” his attorney explained to the government. “All Accounts are located at Vanguard. The accounts are Uniform Gift to Minors Accounts at Vanguard for four children and [another] Vanguard LLC jointly owned by five children.”
“Of the total of nine children, eight are children of American soldiers killed in action. The ninth is not a U.S. citizen and is the daughter of an Iraqi agent with whom Ishmael Jones worked and was later murdered. The amount of author profits deposited into these accounts is 100%. The children that own these accounts will be able to take possession of them when they reach the age of 18.”
The government acknowledged that “there is no evidence that Jones retained any proceeds from the sale of ‘The Human Factor’; instead, he appears to have given his profits away.”
Under the circumstances, the government is not seeking to recover those proceeds. “The United States is not seeking to impose a constructive trust over proceeds over which Jones lacks possession or control.”
Instead, the government asked the court to rule that in the future Jones should not be allowed to retain any additional proceeds that he may receive.
“The United States is entitled to a constructive trust over any future revenues, gains, profits, royalties, or other financial advantages from ‘The Human Factor’ that Jones derives,” the government motion said.
In the responses to interrogatories, Jones’ attorney said “Mr. Jones may receive additional payments from future book sales, but [he does] not expect such payments to occur.”
Meanwhile, “the accounts [Jones] set up for minor children are taxable accounts and therefore contributions to them are not eligible for tax deductions. Mr. Jones pays the taxes on those accounts.”