Esper Memoir of Trump Tenure to Move Ahead After Legal Battle Ends

A memoir by former Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper about his tenure in the Trump administration will be released with ‘minimal redactions’ after he sued the agency he once ran for wanting to block the information in the manuscript, his attorney said on Friday.

The announcement ended a battle between Mr Esper and the Ministry of Defense over material considered classified and therefore not suitable for inclusion in his book, titled ‘A Sacred Oath’, which is due for publication in May.

Mr. Esper, who was fired by former President Donald J. Trump shortly after losing re-election in the 2020 race, sued the Department of Defense in November, accusing agency officials of inappropriately blocking parts of his book “under the guise of classification”. .”

Mr. Esper’s attorney, Mark S. Zaid, said in a report Friday that they dropped the lawsuit after the Pentagon reversed its rulings on an “overwhelming majority” of the parts of the book it had previously declared classified.

Mr. Zaid said Mr. Esper believed the remaining redactions in the book were also inappropriate, but were not central to the book.

“Frankly, Secretary Esper has no interest in releasing properly classified information, which he has sworn and protected for decades,” Mr. Zaid said in the statement.

The Department of Defense responded directly to a request for comment on the end of the trial.

“There are no changes to the Department’s security review and prepublication policy,” he said Saturday. “The purpose of the Defense Department’s security review and pre-release policies is to ensure that information detrimental to national security is not inadvertently disclosed.”

During the department’s pre-publication review of Mr. Esper’s manuscript, he redacted more than 50 pages from the book “which absolutely gutted the substantial content and important storylines,” Mr. Zaid said. This included accounts of some of Mr. Esper’s interactions with Mr. Trump and his views on actions taken by other countries, according to the lawsuit.

The pre-publication review system aims to prevent current and former executive branch employees from sharing classified information that could harm national security if published, but Mr Esper was not the first responsible of the Trump administration to run into problems in the process.

In 2020, a career official who oversaw a preprint review of a book by John R. Bolton, a national security adviser in the Trump administration, accused White House aides of politicizing improper revision of the manuscript.

Mr Zaid said the review process was halted because of the time and money it took to challenge decisions in court and because eventually the department reversed its position “on an overwhelming majority of classification decisions which he had previously claimed to be so vital to the national security interests of the United States, when in reality they never were.

Mr Esper submitted a draft of the manuscript for the review process in late May and came to believe the process was taking an unusually long time, according to the lawsuit. The Defense Office of Prepublication and Safety Review returned the manuscript in October without a written explanation of the redactions, the lawsuit said.

Mr. Esper said some of the redactions “directed me not to quote former President Trump and others in meetings, not to describe conversations between the former president and me, and not to use certain verbs or nouns when describing historical events”.

“I have also been asked to suppress my views on the actions of other countries, conversations I have had with foreign officials and international events that have been widely reported,” Esper continued. “Many articles were already in the public domain; some have even been published by the DOD”