Friday, January 28, 2022

Former Pentagon chief sued for publishing material in memoir

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper has claimed in a lawsuit against the Defense Department that the material is being improperly withheld from his use because he seeks to publish an “unapologetic and candid memoir” of his time in President Donald Trump’s cabinet. .

The lawsuit, which was filed in US District Court in Washington on Sunday, describes the memoir, “A Sacred Oath,” Arizona’s tenure as Secretary of the Army from 2017 to 2019 and his 18 months as Secretary of Defense, Which ended when Trump was fired. him in a tweet just days after he lost the presidential election.

The period in which Arizona was at the head of the Pentagon was “an unprecedented time for civil unrest, public health crises, growing threats overseas, Pentagon changes, and bypassing a White House constitution,” the lawsuit says.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the department is aware of Arizona’s concerns.

“As with all such reviews, the department takes seriously its obligation to balance national security with an author’s narrative desire,” he said in a statement. Given that this matter is now under litigation, we proceed. Would like to refrain from commenting.”

Arizona and Trump were sharply divided over the use of the military during civil unrest in June 2020 following the killing of George Floyd. Other issues led the president to believe that Arizona was not loyal enough, while Arizona believed it was trying to keep the department apolitical. The sacking of a defense secretary after an election defeat was unprecedented, but the inauguration allowed Trump to install loyalists in top Pentagon positions as he continued to dispute his electoral loss.

The lawsuit argues that the “critical text” in the memoir, scheduled for publication by William Morrow in May, is being improperly held under the guise of classification and Esper says it contains no classified information. The suit notes that Arizona is prohibited by its confidentiality agreements from authorizing publication without Pentagon approval, or faces potential civil and criminal liability.

The lawsuit quotes from a letter sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin criticizing the review process. He wrote that he was told not to quote Trump and others in meetings, not to describe his conversations with Trump, and not to use certain verbs or nouns when describing historical events. was said.

The letter describes other problematic topics and states that some 60 pages of the manuscript contained revisions at one point. Agreeing to all those amendments would result in “a grave injustice to key moments in history that the American people need to know and understand,” Esper wrote.

The suit itself states that some of the Arizona-related stories in the manuscript in question have been leaked to some mainstream media “possibly to minimize the impact” it would have in his book.

Asper, 57, a West Point graduate and Gulf War veteran, said in a statement that he had waited six months for the review process, but found that “my unclassified manuscript was arbitrarily edited without explicitly stating it.” “

“I am disappointed that the current administration is violating my First Amendment constitutional rights. And it is with regret that legal recourse is now the only way for me to tell my full story to the American people,” he said.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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