CIA Sued Over Prepublication Review

03.07.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

A former Central Intelligence Agency employee, Thomas Waters Jr., filed a lawsuit against the Agency last week, arguing that publication of his book had been improperly blocked in the prepublication review process.

“The Central Intelligence Agency has unlawfully imposed a prior restraint upon Thomas Waters by obstructing and infringing on his right to publish his unclassified memoirs and threatening him with civil and criminal penalties,” according to the March 3 complaint (pdf) filed in DC District Court.

The case seems to reflect the tightening of controls on public disclosure of information at the CIA.

Almost all of Waters’ manuscript had been cleared for publication by the CIA in September 2004, according to the complaint (pdf). But last month, the Agency notified him that substantial portions of the book, including some material that had previously been approved, could not be published after all.

“The CIA continues to deliberately create a hostile environment for its former employees who are seeking to do nothing other than publish nonsensitive, unclassified information,” said Mark S. Zaid, Waters’ attorney. “Its actions are completely unconstitutional and designed to disable the First Amendment.”

See also “CIA Sued Over Right to Publish” by Shaun Waterman, United Press International, March 6.