Ex-Pentagon Secretary Mark Esper sues agency over ‘important’ revisions to memos

Former Defense Minister Mark Esper He filed a lawsuit against the Pentagon on Sunday, claiming that the agency improperly blocked portions of his upcoming memoir chronicling what he calls “the turbulent second half of the Trump administration.”

esper I filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., alleging that the Department of Defense “arbitrarily redacted” portions of the memos during a routine pre-release review process for executive branch staff. New York times Details reported for the first time About the lawsuit, noting that Esper is probably the most senior former government official to have previously filed a restraint lawsuit in connection with a book.

“The American people deserve a complete and unembodied account of our nation’s history, especially of its most difficult periods,” Esper said in a statement via his attorney, Mark Zedd. “I am deeply disappointed that the current administration is violating my constitutional rights to the First Amendment. Unfortunately, legal recourse is the only avenue now available to me to tell my full story to the American people.”

Esper asked the courts to allow him to publish what he believed to be non-confidential information in the book.

The memoir, titled “Holy Oath”, is due to be released in May. The lawsuit states that Esper submitted his manuscript in May 2021 for review and worked closely with the Pentagon’s review office. The lawsuit says he ultimately thought the process was taking “extraordinary” time for a former defense secretary before he was finally told the details and paragraphs from the roughly 60 pages of the book were redacted.

“An important text was improperly prevented from being published in Secretary Esper’s manuscript under the guise of classification,” the lawsuit says. “The obscured text is important for telling the important stories discussed in the manuscript.”

Esper went on to say that he was asked to remove quotes from Trump and others in meetings, as well as “opinions about other countries’ actions, conversations I’ve had with foreign officials, and regarding widely reported international events.”

A Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, told The Times he was aware of Esper’s frustration but said the agency took its role very seriously to protect the nation’s interests.

“As with all of these reviews, the department takes very seriously its commitment to balancing national security with the author’s desire for narrative,” Kirby told the newspaper. “Given that this matter is now under litigation, we will refrain from commenting further.”

Esper is the latest Trump administration official to seek a chronicle of his experiences in the former president’s government. Former National Security Adviser John Bolton has also come under scrutiny from the Justice Department over his attempt to publish details of his time with the president. Bolton’s book was published regardless, and the government sued for the profits. The Department of Justice, under Attorney General Merrick Garland, The case was dropped in June.

Trump fired Esper Last November, shortly after he lost his re-election battle to Joe Biden and amid reports that he defied the then-president’s orders on several occasions.

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