Snowden, Poitras & Others Sued For 'Billions Of Dollars' Spent By US Government In Response To Leaks

from the not-a-ton-of-crazy-in-the-filing,-but-not-a-ton-of-right,-either dept

Horace B. Edwards, Navy veteran and former Secretary of Transportation for the state of Kansas, is suing Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras and a handful of “Hollywood Defendants” for profiteering from the distribution of “stolen documents.” This is supposedly being done on “behalf of the American people” (“John and Jane Does 1-10” listed in the “Plaintiffs” field). [pdf link]

What Edwards is seeking is a court-ordered “constructive trust,” financed by the proceeds of Laura Poitras’ Snowden documentary “CitizenFour,” to offset the financial damage caused by the leaked documents.

This is an action on behalf of the American people to seek prompt imposition of the Supreme Court’s essential financial remedy–a constructive trust–to redress unjust enrichment by ensuring that ill-gotten gains are disgorged… This relief does not infringe upon First Amendment rights but maintains a reasonable balance between national security and the fundamental Constitutional protections of Freedom of the Press. No censorship occurs and no public access is restrained…

Upon information and belief, through this charade in the film, “Citizenfour,” a fugitive senior intelligence official, e.g. CIA/NSA/DIA, together with the “Hollywood Defendants,” intentionally violate obligations owed to the American people, misuse purloined information disclosed to foreign enemies, and covet financial gain for their misconduct.

If you’re still having any trouble discerning Edwards’ stance on the Snowden leaks, allow this paragraph to do the heavy lifting.

Upon information and belief together, these Hollywood Defendants have concertedly acted without regard for the health, safety and welfare of all U.S. Citizens, have aided and abetted the illegal and morally wrongful acts of Defendant Snowden, and have callously chosen to commercialize, capitalize and commoditize for their conscienceless benefit, the stolen classified CIA/NSA and other secret documents referred to and revealed in the film.

From there, we head to the heart of the matter: the billions of dollars in damages Poitras, Snowden, et al should be forced to pay in compensation to the US government.

Upon information and belief, the sums subject to a constructive trust may well exceed hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, to achieve restitution for all expenditures of the U.S. government to protect human assets placed at risk, restore/revamp computer infrastructure, rebuild relationships with foreign governments, and respond to various enemies’ resurgence efforts, due to the blowback associated with the film and the release of classified information to foreign enemies of this Nation.

Edwards’ argument is that Snowden’s breach of his secrecy agreements makes him personally obligated to reimburse the US (the government and its people, according to the filing) for expenses incurred. That the “Hollywood Defendants” and Poitras herself have financially benefited from the documentary makes them at least partially liable, and that all proceeds from “CitizenFour” rightfully belong to the government. To that end, Edwards seeks relief in the following form.

Impose a constructive trust over, and permit the United States Government to obtain an accounting of, all monies, gains, profits, royalties, and other advantages that all Defendants have derived, or will derive in the future, from the publication, distribution, sale, serialization, or republication in any form, including any other rights, of the work entitled “Citizenfour,” whether or not such gains remain in Defendant Snowden’s possession or in the possession, custody or control, whether direct or indirect, of any other Defendant herein.

Considering Edwards is trying to help the US balance its Snowden-related books, you’d think he wouldn’t be attempting to harm the US government’s constructive trust cash cow — Poitras’ Snowden documentary. But included with the filing are two letters [one, two] from the law firm representing Edwards (Lamfers & Assocs. L.C.) to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, both of which contain reasons why “CitizenFour” shouldn’t be allowed to compete for a Best Documentary award. Seeing as an Oscar win usually results in a sales bump — and with Edwards asserting that Snowden, et al need to pay Uncle Sam back for the trouble they’ve caused — it would seem to be in everyone’s financial interest that “CitizenFour” receive a nomination and, hopefully, a win.

But this isn’t about logic, it’s about Edwards’ vindictive and likely futile lawsuit. Edwards wants to punish those who have made the film (as it stands now, Snowden is still out of reach) by dragging them through the federal court system and pushing their film out of Oscar running.

As for his assurances that the creation of a constructive trust wouldn’t have any impact on the First Amendment rights of those named in the lawsuit, he’s only technically correct. Edwards isn’t seeking an injunction barring the showing or sale of the film, but if successful, his lawsuit would have a chilling effect on future reporting pertaining to whistleblowers and/or leaked documents. If he somehow manages to prove that Snowden’s breach of contract makes him and his “benefactors” responsible for money spent by the US government’s damage control, this will deter both future reporting and future whistleblowers from making any information public.





Filed Under: , , , , , , ,
Companies: participant media, weinstein company

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Snowden, Poitras & Others Sued For 'Billions Of Dollars' Spent By US Government In Response To Leaks”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
65 Comments
Keith Rodgers (user link) says:

Re: Squandering Billion's?

Is this like a hated Congress who sleeps with everyone but their wives who “without your consent or signatures” bails out bankers and then tells you its “Your National Debt” that you and your Children’s children owe yourselves?

I would suggest looking up what Fascism, Tyranny and Dictator means and then remember this: Everything our alleged forefathers fought Nazi Germany against that in fact the USA and its vassal’s are today. Complete with the Israeli trained POLICE STATE under program’s of GILEE, CRI, ADL, DHS, FBI, NSA and FBI’s Counter-Terrorism. GOOGLE IT!

Only in the US Government can they arrest and put on trial those for war crimes and exempt themselves.

Holiday Note: As countless Million’s of American’s reflect on the birth and death of their Lord Jesus Christ who was systematically TORTURED to death is it also legal to torture others from a predominately “Christian” peoples. Yet! If you beat your DOG your convicted of a crime?

Anonymous Coward says:

hmm. interesting! so what happened to the ‘ “constructive trust”‘ that is supposed to exist between the government, the security forces AND THE PEOPLE? especially when the government and the security forces gives ‘the people’ the biggest ass-fucking ever? especially when the government and the security forces betrays the trust that supposedly exists between them by constant surveillance, continuous erosion of the peoples’ rights, the total obliteration wherever possible of the Constitution and the ignoring of how the security forces are supposed to be ‘protecting and serving’ the people?
and this fucking numb nut is trying to sue those 3 people? yeah, right!!

Bt Garner (profile) says:

Using “Hollywood Defendants” in a legal document is about the same as going to the middle of Times Square and pulling out the spray bottle of “Bat Shit Crazy,” spraying it all over yourself, then urinating into that same bottle and repeating the process, all the while confronting anyone who walks past you as being the source of all your earthly problems.

Does Techdirt need a “Funny” section?

G Thompson (profile) says:

So Horace B. Edwards is now the legal guardian ad litem of the US is he?

So he wont mind being criminally charged under War Crimes and other International treaties for the crimes that the US Govt, its citizens and proxies have committed (with torture being but one of the charges) towards the rest of the populace of the planet then.

Good on him.. I hope he plans to NEVER travel anywhere else on the planet whatsoever (or any of his agents who would also be vicariously liable too)

btw.. This is NOT sarcasm

Socrates says:

Odd

He is not suing those who ordered
– the torture
– the spying on allied nations
– the spying on corporations
– the spying on citizens all over the world
– the drone assassinations
– the concentration camps
– the wars based on lies
– the attack on journalists
and so on

He does not even mention that someone is responsible for the despised acts. In fact he doesn’t even mention that it is the despised acts that is despised!

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Odd

He’s just using the government’s favorite argument: “The problem isn’t the crimes and those who commit them, the problem is those who expose them!”

Remember, we’re talking about people who see absolutely nothing wrong with a peeping tom who either watches directly, or sets up cameras in bedrooms or bathrooms, as long as the person/people they are watching never learn that they’re being watched.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Odd

“He’s just using the government’s favorite argument: “The problem isn’t the crimes and those who commit them, the problem is those who expose them!”

Remember, we’re talking about people who see absolutely nothing wrong with a peeping tom who either watches directly, or sets up cameras in bedrooms or bathrooms, as long as the person/people they are watching never learn that they’re being watched.”

+ 1,000 x’s over.

And funded by;
Bill Gates
Warren Buffett
Larry Ellison
Charles Koch
David Koch
Christy Walton
Jim Walton
Alice Walton
S. Robson Walton
Mark Zuckerberg

there’s no reason to care what the rest of “people” think anymore since the “people” have always considered Snowden an asset.

Personally, I think it’s laughable he even found attorney’s to file on behalf of his imaginary “people” – if that was possible, everyone would file for a lot of things.

I think his attorney should have his license reconsidered for misleading a demented old man out of cash.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Odd

I’m gonna say here that yes Germany was spied on a lot. But seeing as they are making top of the line subs for Israel (that can mount nukes…) and Merkel saying crazy things like “Our raison-dêtre is to protect Israel” in early 2013, sure, spy on Germany away, and also Israel, I remember them being in the red on Boundless Informant map.

The relationship the US has with this tiny country ruled by racists who consider everyone not a jew to be cattle is poisonous…I wasn’t surprised when the NSA was shown to be spying both of these intensely (more than Russia even). It could be for the best. Also all those 9/11 perps, where did they mostly hang out ? Germany, in Hanover. The Germany privacy laws are good but they are being used for bad reasons.

Yes I just read a book, Flight Path by Kristjan Thorsteinson, used to be only available in German. He had it translated after the whole Germany under surveillance thing.

Socrates says:

Re: Re: Germany

I’m gonna say here that yes Germany was spied on a lot. But seeing as they are making top of the line subs for Israel (that can mount nukes…) and Merkel saying crazy things like “Our raison-dêtre is to protect Israel” in early 2013, sure, spy on Germany away, and also Israel, I remember them being in the red on Boundless Informant map.

It is very difficult for Germans to be critical towards Israel. The main reason is that Jews were the only group singled out as Nazi victims. It is a sad reason all the other victims were ignored.

* Gays: Actually illegal, and actively harassed. To the extent that they drove Alan Turing to suicide. So not workable as victims.

* Gipsys (Romani): They “roamed the land and did crimes”, and were considered an unsolvable problem. Used in medical experiments and the victim of mass sterilization, in the UK. So not workable as victims.

* Mentally retarded: Freaks. So not workable as victims.

* People born with physical defects: Freaks. So not workable as victims.

* Communists: The old enemy reborn as the new enemy. To the extent that Martin Niemöllers First they came … is misquoted to this day in USA! In the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum “communist” is substituted with “socialist”. In Israel the proper quote is used. And it is a sad reminder how true Martin Niemöller words were. Even more so now, that Russia is re-reborn as the enemy. “The bad people killed our enemies”. So not workable as victims

The relationship the US has with this tiny country ruled by racists who consider everyone not a jew to be cattle is poisonous…

Benjamin Netanyahu getting never ending applause in the US Congress were … odd. No one wanted to be the first to stop clapping. If you compare it to old films from Soviet it looks alike. Weird, and scary.

If the corruption problem in USA were fixed, the funding would stop. And if the focus shifted more toward what is actually happening today instead of faked history the racism would be addressed. The most open debate concerning this is actually in Israel. And it would be peace in the region within days.

We in Europa and USA is almost as much to blame as Israel. If the corruption in USA and the stale guilt is not adressed before USA goes bankrupt it might be to late. For Israel and for innocent Jews all over the world. When the pendulum have been fixed to an extreme position for decades bad things happen when it swings … Nobody seams to care though.

I wasn’t surprised when the NSA was shown to be spying both of these intensely (more than Russia even).

NSA share its files with Israel unfiltered. Even the surveillance of the Senate and the Congress.

It could be for the best. Also all those 9/11 perps, where did they mostly hang out ? Germany, in Hanover. The Germany privacy laws are good but they are being used for bad reasons.

I consider the Hanover-trail unreliable and unlikely. Shorting of stocks (real and proven) and the Hanover trail (claimed and unproven), Sonys courting of attorney generals (real and proven) and North Korea the perpetrator (claimed and unproven), seam to never be addressed by the same news outlet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Is it environmental?

I bet they got sodium fluoride added water. I know regular fluoride isn’t an issue. Speaking as a chem technician who didn’t stop learning things after graduating (that happens a lot). The areas of Canada that vote clearly against their interests is the area of Canada where sodium fluoride is added to the water the most, it’s kinda rare here.

Sodium fluoride only being added because it’s a waste product from mining industry and others, might as well find a use for it…right?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Is it environmental?

I always suspected that the oft-repeated “problem” with too much salt in the diet was due more to drinking sodium fluoride in tap water, than to the use of iodized table salt.

Actually it was due to confusing correlation and causation. Doctors saw that sodium causes this thing (I don’t remember what) that’s associated with high blood pressure, so they assumed it was causal. But it turns out that there’s another factor that causes both high blood pressure, and this other condition. The high blood pressure has nothing to do with sodium.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Is it environmental?

The areas of Canada that vote clearly against their interests is the area of Canada where sodium fluoride is added to the water the most, it’s kinda rare here. Sodium fluoride only being added because it’s a waste product from mining industry and others, might as well find a use for it…right?

Correlation… causation… you know the drill. The wikipedia article on water fluoridation doesn’t support anything you’re saying.

Guy Fawkes (user link) says:

Can Horseface Eddy be sued for being stupid?

Really? This idiot, after years of being misled by The USI government, has not learnt anything. He had been working as a tool for IsraHell to destroy America (starting with 911 attacks). Snowden’s actions were the results of frustration and powerless stemmed from 911 false-flag attacks.

if Horseface Eddy had any iota of intelligence he would have gone after those 911 masterminds instead of spitting into the winds.

MarcAnthony (profile) says:

Charade? Obligations?

“Upon information and belief, through this charade in the film…”

By characterizing the film as a charade, does that not disprove the theory of the suit? If the film is accurate and is based on public knowledge, how can there be damages?

“…intentionally violate obligations owed to the American people…”

The only fiduciary duty owed was in the explicit oath to which Snowden swore—to protect against foreign and domestic enemies. I’d say that passing secret laws and spying on private citizens in direct contravention of the Constitution places many government officials firmly into enemy territory.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Since he’s already shipped the USG retainer of 12 suitcases full of cash, to his off-shore bank, I doubt he really gives a shit.

That’s the thing about crooks in power. They’re all in it for personal gain and will quickly and without the slightest hesitation, cut each other’s throats for a small increase in their own cut of the booty.

GEMont (profile) says:

Fee Fie Foe Fum

hmmmmm… dunno bout you all, but I for one would surely love to see a full break down of all the money spent by the USG on the Snowden leaks, next to a detailed description of precisely what those expenses entailed.

The courts should demand such a complete breakdown, or there should be no way to legally allow this extortion to continue, since the USG is supposed to be acting for the US public – thus the US public should know in full detail what the redress of finances is actually for.

Otherwise, the USG can simply pull a number out of its ass and claim that it represents the amount of money they spent doing whatever it was they claim (without evidence) that they’ve been doing since Snowden exposed their dirty deeds to the world.

It might actually be worth taking them up on the suit and filing countersuit to get the full details of these expenses exposed publically. That should get the USG to run in the other direction pretty quick.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...