Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

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Former Defense Secretary Mark Espero filed a lawsuit Against the Defense Department on Sunday, the Pentagon accused the Trump administration of “censoring” its First Amendment rights by modifying parts of its upcoming book.

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big picture: Esper, who served as Secretary of Defense from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleged in the lawsuit that “important text” was “improperly published” of the manuscript. Being prevented from “under the guise of classification.”

  • “The withheld text is important for telling the important stories discussed in the manuscript,” adds the suit, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., and first reported. new York Times,
  • The suit alleges that Esper wrote in an email dated November 8 with current Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that “some requested amendments ask me not to quote former President Trump and others in meetings, conversations between the former president and me.” Not to describe, and not to use certain verbs or nouns when describing historical events.”

“I was also asked to remove my views on actions in other countries, conversations with foreign officials, and widely reported international incidents. Many items were already in the public domain; some published by DoD were also done.”

– part of the trial


What are they saying: Esper said in a statement that his memoir, “A Sacred Oath,” due for release in May, “provides important details and new insights into many of the most controversial events that occurred during the tumultuous second half of the Trump administration.”

On the other end: Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement news outlet that he is “aware” of “Arizona’s concerns regarding the pre-publication of his memoir”.

  • “As with all reviews like this, the department takes seriously its obligation to balance national security with an author’s narrative desire,” Kirby said.
  • “Given that this matter is now under litigation, we will refrain from commenting further.”
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what to watch: Arizona has asked the DC District Court to allow the publication of unclassified information in the book.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with more details on the matter.


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