- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of former government workers Tuesday challenging the requirement that intelligence and military personnel must get preapproval before speaking or writing about their past work.

The five former employees, in a complaint filed in federal court in Maryland, say that “prepublication review” violates their First Amendment rights.

“This system of censorship cannot be squared with the First Amendment,” they said in the lawsuit, which they filed with legal help from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Prepublication review was first started in 1947 when CIA employees were asked to sign secrecy agreements promising not to publish information without the government’s consent, according to court documents.

The employees said the expansion of classified materials has made it tough for people who served in important government roles and who have expertise to join public debates after they leave service.

Timothy Edgar, a plaintiff who used to work in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, says he ended up cutting out information because the review was taking so long it was jeopardizing his publication dates.

Mark Fallon, who worked for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, said it took eight months before he got his book approved, and he was forced to remove 113 items from his text. Some of those items were taken from public news articles and congressional reports, the complaint says.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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