Former Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper sued his former department on Sunday, claiming he had redacted “several words, sentences and paragraphs of about 60 pages” from his unpublished book without explanation after submitting it to a standard exam.
“Important text is unduly denied for publication … under the guise of classification,” Esper said in his lawsuit. He added that the blocked text was “crucial” to producing an “unvarnished and candid brief”. The Pentagon has not been able to confirm that “the redacted material contains classified information or compromises national security,” Esper added in the complaint. The book by the former cabinet member, titled A sacred oath and released in May 2022, would be said to chronicle his “remarkable and dangerous” period as Secretary of Defense under former President Donald Trump.
According to The New York Times, Esper may be the most senior government official ever to file a pre-publication restriction lawsuit. Purge of the Trump administration in November 2020 for “insufficient loyalty,” Esper said on Sunday he was “more than disappointed that the current administration is infringing my First Amendment constitutional rights.” Chief Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby addressed the issue in a brief statement: “As with all of these reviews, the department takes seriously its obligation to balance national security with the narrative desire of a author.