The US government is suing Edward Snowden in pursuit of the earnings he made as a guest speaker at various virtual conferences, including the $35k he made at two cryptocurrency conferences.
Snowden was paid $15,000 for speaking at the BTC Media event in San Francisco in June 2019. He was also paid $20,000 for speaking at the Blockstack conference in March, 2018, according to official court documents.
US Gov Wants Snowden Profits
The US government launched a civil suit against Snowden in September 2019 after Snowden’s book Permanent Record was published without first being reviewed by the NSA and CIA. As a former intelligence contractor, the government claims it should have been contacted to check the contents of the book before publication, in case it contained any sensitive information.
The US government also sued the book publisher, American Program Bureau, Inc, to freeze the movement of any proceeds from the book, and stop Snowden from receiving any related income. The lawsuit states:
“Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit. This lawsuit will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him.”
Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division suggested the non-disclosure agreements Snowden made with the NSA and CIA still stand, despite the whistle-blower’s decision to flee America and seek refuge in Russia. Hunt said:
“Edward Snowden has violated an obligation he undertook to the United States when he signed agreements as part of his employment by the CIA and as an NSA contractor. The United States’ ability to protect sensitive national security information depends on employees’ and contractors’ compliance with their non-disclosure agreements, including their pre-publication review obligations.”
Snowden has since responded, claiming it would be ridiculous to assume that US government agencies would have treated his book fairly.
Snowden and Bitcoin
Edward Snowden has appeared at 67 different conferences (via video call) between 2015 and 2020. He earned a total of $1,255,800, equating to an average of $18,745 per appearance.
US President Donald Trump recently announced his intention to “start looking at” the possibility of pardoning Edward Snowden for his release of state secrets back in 2013. Trump said there were “a lot of people that think he is not being treated fairly,” as reported by Reuters.
Snowden has been peripherally involved with Bitcoin for some time. Shortly after the “Black Thursday” crash of March 2020, the whistleblower tweeted his desire to buy BTC, claiming the drop was a sign of “too much panic” and “too little reason.”
The same month, Snowden released classified US government documents to online news site The Intercept, which detailed the government’s efforts to track and trace bitcoin users starting as early as 2013.
“The data source appears to have leveraged NSA’s ability to harvest and analyze raw, global internet traffic while also exploiting an unnamed software program that purported to offer anonymity to users, according to other documents,” wrote Sam Biddle of The Intercept. Biddle said the documents revealed Bitcoin to be the NSA’s number one priority.