“Because the agreements imposed both obligations and because the government plausibly pleads that Bolton breached those obligations, the Court will deny Bolton’s pending motion to dismiss,” Judge Royce Lamberth said in his decision.
The judge pointed out that Bolton signed three non-disclosure agreements as a condition of his position.
According to court documents, Bolton submitted his manuscript to Ellen Knight, the National Security Council’s director for records access and information security management. Knight and her staff performed a preliminary review and determined the manuscript contained “significant amounts of classified information.” Knight and Bolton worked through a series of changes.
Knight, believing the classified information to be excised, then passed the manuscript to Michael Ellis, the NSC’s senior director for intelligence programs, for a second review.
Ellis had access to more “extremely sensitive intelligence reports” than Knight, and determined the manuscript still contained classified information and sent a letter to Bolton’s attorney explaining the book could not be published until the government confirmed its review was complete. Still, Bolton authorized Simon and Schuster to publish the memoir.
Department of Justice officials say Bolton released classified information and breached nondisclosure agreements as a government employee — by not getting pre-publication clearance — when his book about his service in the White House was released earlier this year. They also say the former adviser “unjustly enriched himself” by breaching agreements.
It had sought a restraining order and a preliminary injunction to delay publication. Judge Lamberth at the time allowed the book to be published, but warned Bolton he was exposing himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability.”