The Justice Department is asking a federal court to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent publication of classified information it says is contained in a forthcoming book by former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton.
The emergency appeal filed Wednesday night in the U.S. District Court in Washington also seeks an expedited hearing for Friday on the motion, noting that “The Room Where It Happened” is set for publication June 23.
The court motion states that Mr. Bolton failed to abide by his secrecy agreements signed while working in the White House requiring the manuscript to be cleared for publication after a White House security review.
“To be clear: Defendant’s manuscript still contains classified information, as confirmed by some of the government’s most senior national-security and intelligence officials — the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the National Security Agency, the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, and the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence programs,” the motion states.
“Disclosure of the manuscript will damage the national security of the United States,” it concludes.
Charles Cooper, a lawyer for Mr. Bolton, could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Bolton, through his lawyer, has said that he complied with pre-publication review process.
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The court filing mentions the case of former CIA agent Frank Snepp, who was successfully sued by the U.S. government after he published a book in 1980 disclosing CIA secrets. The case resulted in profits from the book going to the government and a ban on further disclosures of classified information.
The motion states that American security will be “irreparably injured” unless an injunction is issued blocking publication.
“The book defendant intends to publish on June 23 contains classified information, including information classified at the Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, and Top Secret/SCI levels,” the filing states.
Details of Mr. Bolton’s book already have been published in several news reports. According to the reports, Mr. Bolton sought Chinese President Xi Jinping’s help in getting re-elected by asking China to purchase more agricultural goods.
Mr. Bolton is scheduled to appear on ABC on Sunday to discuss the contents of the tell-all book.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Bolton harshly criticized the president for making concessions to China on issues of trade and telecommunications policy.
According to Mr. Bolton, Mr. Trump offered to lift sanctions on the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE in a bid to make some kind of deal with Mr. Xi.
“In 2019, he offered to reverse criminal prosecution against Huawei if it would help in the trade deal — which, of course, was primarily about getting Trump re-elected in 2020,” Mr. Bolton wrote.
Mr. Bolton stated that he could not use Mr. Trump’s exact phrasing in his article because the White House had said the information was classified.
Earlier, the Justice Department filed a civil suit against Mr. Bolton asserting he had violated his contractual obligation regarding pre-publication review.