Federal District Court Judge Royce Lamberth has cleared the way for John Bolton to be criminally prosecuted for violating his non-disclosure agreement and revealing classified material without authorization.  In a 10-page ruling issued June 20, the former presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court (FISA Court) refused to grant the Trump White House a temporary restraining order and injunction against the publication of Bolton's account of his 17 months as National Security Advisor.  The book, The Room Where it Happened, is being released this week by Simon & Schuster.

Judge Lamberth found that "the barn door has already been opened" by Bolton giving the publisher the go-ahead to produce and distribute thousands of copies of the book, including pre-publication review copies to scores of mainstream media around the world.  Lamberth concluded that the government request for the TRO would be "toothless" given the wide circulation and the impossibility of preventing extensive quotes from the book appearing on social media.

But Lamberth agreed with the Trump Administration that Bolton had included classified information in the final book and he could be sued in civil court and criminally prosecuted for violating his signed agreements to protect classified material.  The White House submitted in camera evidence to the Judge detailing classified material damaging to the national security of the United States.  The Judge agreed.

In his written ruling, Lamberth wrote: "Defendant Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States.  He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability."

In other words:  Go get him boys.

Bolton was fired by Trump in September 2019.  He signed a contract with Simon & Schuster in November 2019 and submitted a 500-page manuscript in December 2019.  Bolton provided a copy to the National Security Council for classification review, but he gave the publisher the OK to go to print without receiving written clearance from the White House.  

Anyone who has ever written a 500-page manuscript knows that it cannot be completed in a matter of weeks or even months–particularly a memoir which involves intricate details of national security deliberations.  It seems clear to me that Bolton was working on his book even before he was fired–and well before he had the contract with the major publisher.

Bolton was in regular communication with Ellen Knight, Senior Director of Records Access and Information Security Management, for the National Security Council.  He was told in April 2020 that he should receive a letter authorizing the publication of his book after the redactions had been made.  But the letter was never released, due to other officials' concerns about remaining classified material.  He went ahead with publication knowing full well he had not been given the required authorization.  He should be prosecuted for that willful crime.

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  1. Deap says:

    Throw his own book at him. But be prepared for the blow-back.
    Under the current climate even seeking justice for blatant crimes done in full view and now with judicial benediction will still be called “inflammatory” by the Democrats and the media.
    Nailing one of your “own” is also fraught with internal messiness; yet the real Obama crooks go untouched. Media could now cite how many of Trump’s “best people” are indicted crooks. SST posters long claimed Bolton should never have been appointed in the first place. Lesson painfully learned; and he was cynically used to stick it to NATO and the EU. Until he became the gift that kept on giving.
    Only good aspect is even the Democrats don’t want to go to bed with this Trump-hating war monger. That is a first. I see the full book is now offered on youtube for free – best way to demonitize the demons.

  2. JohnH says:

    If Bolton’s punishment is a slap on the wrist, it could set an interesting precedent for Assange…

  3. EEngineer says:

    I’d go after the publisher. Either Bolton lied to them that it was cleared (and they failed to verify that it was) or they didn’t ask (but would have known they should). So at least one of them is done, and potentially both.

  4. Barbara Ann says:

    John Kiriakou over at Consortium News says “Bolton did what the law and the system demand that he does.”
    Judge Lamberth, clearly disagrees. From the judgement:
    “Upon reviewing the classified materials, as well as the declarations filed on the public docket, ECF No. 3-1–5, the Court is persuaded that Defendant Bolton likely jeopardized national security by disclosing classified information in violation of his nondisclosure agreement obligations.”
    Bolton has taken the Duke of Wellington approach. He has published and with a bit of luck he will now be damned.
    Link to the text of the judgement:

  5. Seamus Padraig says:

    Best news I’ve heard in a while!

  6. Barbara Ann says:

    Assange reminds me of Dumas’ Edmond Dantès or perhaps better the Man in the Iron Mask. The transatlantic Deep State is determined to crucify him and I fear no precedent can help. His only hope, it seems to me, is if the Russiagate prosecutions start to flow. Perhaps if it ever comes out that Seth Rich was Arkancided for the DNC leak he may eventually receive clemency, perhaps from Trump.
    Are publishers liable for the legal obligations of the originators of their source material? Isn’t that, in fact, Assange’s defense?

  7. Jack says:

    Let’s see if the Trump administration will prosecute Bolton. Wouldn’t it be instructive how they act as opposed to what Trump tweets?

  8. JohnH says:

    Barbara Ann– I stand corrected. Bolton should get the treatment that Chelsea Manning got. More likely though, he’ll get what Clapper got for lying to Wyden under oath.

  9. edding says:

    Barbara Ann- Kiriakou is not arguing that Bolton’s disclosures do or do not violate national security, but rather that Bolton’s rights granted under the review statute should bar future prosecution or seizure of the profits from his book, since Bolton submitted his book for prepublication review, waited 100 days, and during that time agreed to all changes demanded by the White House- except that the reviewer’s supervisor then wanted to bar publication for another year pending additional review. Under the statute, Bolton’s unconditional rights vested after 60 days regardless of the ‘national security’ implications. After all, the Government also had an obligation to do its job, and do it timely.

  10. Enrico Malatesta says:

    Enjoy the legal theories about Bolton’s possible prosecution, but hasn’t our Judicial System been monetized like every other government function?
    Will the DOJ decide to bankrupt Bolton into a Plea Deal or not? That’s how the Court System works for all but the UberRich.

  11. Barbara Ann says:

    You are right about the nature of Kiriakou’s argument. I was interested in the conclusion he draws from the ruling of United States v. Marchetti:

    “It [the ruling] also mandated that the clearing authority (usually the CIA) could confiscate all profits from any book that is not sent through review. But it also gave the various “publications review boards” only 60 days to complete their reviews.”

    I can find nothing in the ruling to support that statement. As far as I can tell the case was a simple 1A challenge to the constitutionality of the NDA’s Marchetti had signed. Chief Judge Haynsworth set out Marchetti’s case as follows:

    Marchetti contends that his First Amendment rights foreclose any prior restraint upon him in carrying out his purpose to write and publish what he pleases about the Agency and its operations.

    He ends his statement with the following:

    We find the contract constitutional and otherwise
    reasonable and lawful.

    I can see no mention made of vested rights upon expiry of a statutory 60 day wait period. The section entitled “Marchetti’s Rights” includes the following:

    Because we are dealing with a prior restraint upon speech, we think that the CIA must act promptly to approve or disapprove any material which may be submitted to it by Marchetti. Undue delay would impair the reasonableness of the restraint, and that reasonableness is to be maintained if the restraint is to be enforced. We should think that, in all events, the maximum period for responding after the submission of material for approval should not exceed thirty days.

    So this mentions a 30 day period, but it pertains simply to the deadline the agency had to respond to the initial submission of material for review. It says nothing about the contract(s) being unenforceable after any deadline. The conclusion adds that the onus is on Marchetti to pursue further action should he consider that the CIA “wrongfully withheld approval”. The standard for such seems to simply be undue delay – very hard to prove I would think.
    I think Kiriakou has misread the ruling, but in any case it will be an interesting legal battle if USG takes it forward.

  12. Deap says:

    Considering how many have now read it, passed it on, and even allegedly posted it for free on youtube, why has no one revealed the embedded security compromises. Would the lay reader be able to recognize them?

  13. Deap says:

    Digital PDF copy from UK now being sold on eBay for approx US$4.00 with free postal delivery. Including in the eBay listing is the following proviso:
    “……NOTE TO EBAY:
    This eBook does not violate any eBay or Vero rules. It is a legal copy and I am within my rights to sell this eBook. This information is in the public domain and was researched legally. No Trademark or copyright laws have been violated. This eBook package was created under eBay’s “Compilation & Informational Media Guidelines”.
    I am an Authorized re-seller of this product and also have resale rights to this eBook. Full Resell Rights are granted by the copyright owners to sell these E-books with Resell Rights. This ad is in compliance with all eBay rules and regulations.
    I will send this item by postal mail. Sending this item by email or by any other digital delivery method is not allowed and violates eBay policy…..”

  14. Polish Janitor says:

    I am looking forward to see Bolton behind bars. period. After this, which administration in its right mind would be dumb enough to employ him ever again in any capacity? wait, Nikki Haley probably would….
    I have to say in recent weeks especially during these leftist protests, I have become convinced that virtually all centers of power want Trump gone and do not want a second Trump term at all. I am sure most people here on SST did watch Bolton’s ABC interview. It was hard for me to believe media’s framing ofthe situation and that it was only the disgruntled former employee versus his boss and that the feud was ‘only personal’ and Bolton was there to fullfill his patriotic duty and that did not have the strong backing of certain very elusive power elements behind him.
    I think Bolton’s situation has a lot to do with foreign policy and to a minor degree with Bolton’s revenge of Trump humiliating him. Here we have the confluence of these two elements coming together and acting as a deadly political hit job against Trump.
    I have this feeling that the powerful straussian neoconservatives (or to use Col. Lang’s term, the Borg) in their hearts wanted Ted Cruz to win and not Trump, so that it would be like the second coming of Reagan and then he would unify the Party and the NatSec establishment would ultimately concentrate its effort on winning an inevitable second Cold War against the rising China.
    Virtually everything points to the direction of the inevitability of U.S.-China confrontation and people like Bolton are being pushed by these power centers to make the case that Trump is in for himself and not the national interests. IMO, this is the message meant not for the Democrats, but for the undecided, the Republican backers and even world leaders that Trump is damaging national security, so lets join together and prevent him from winning a second term.
    Which brings us to the last part of Bolton’s interview when he was asked whether or not he would support Biden: “I don’t think [Trump] should be president. I don’t think I’m fit for the job. I don’t think I have the competence to do the job. I don’t think he’s a conservative Republican. I will not vote for him in November. I will not vote for Joe Biden either. I am going to find a conservative Republican to subscribe.
    With regards to Bolton’s write-in candidate I wonder who he has in mind to run against Trump in November?

  15. edding says:

    Barbara Ann – Good points. I will try to follow up to find out why Kiriakou cited a 60-day review period after prepublication submission- e.g., whether it might be in a subsequently promulgated statute, reg, or policy- or revision to the confidentiality agreements that has become operative following the Marchetti decision.

  16. turcopolier says:

    DoD has had my manuscript for far longer than that.

  17. blue peacock says:

    “I have become convinced that virtually all centers of power want Trump gone…”
    Polish Janitor,
    I believe you are correct.
    Trump hasn’t helped himself. Maybe he can’t as it seems to him everything is about him. He never brought his administration under his control and enforced strong management & discipline. One of his selling points in the last election is that he was a successful businessman who ran a large corporation. But what people have seen is chaos. Not what people’s perception of a well-oiled machine under a seasoned business executive looks like.
    Second, and in my opinion his biggest vulnerability in the coming election is the perception that he is weak. He didn’t demonstrate guts when he needed to. He didn’t declassify Russia Collusion and allowed the Democrats and the Deep State to run circles around him for 3 years. None of the coupsters have even been indicted but many in Trump’s orbit have been harassed, indicted and some even convicted. A powerful message. Bolton is just taking advantage and demonstrating Trump’s weakness. It is not that Trump didn’t know what Bolton was doing. If he had courage he would have prepared to take him down severely as message to the others.
    The message on the other hand is that Trump is weak, There are no consequences if you attempt to take him down. At worst he’ll insult you on Twitter. The half-life of that shtick is rapidly diminishing.

  18. Barbara Ann says:

    blue peacock
    You are right about Trump’s continued weakness and the Bolton book does not help, but what interests me are the reasons for it. Trump may of course have been compromised by the manifold forces ranged against him – perhaps by some episode in his ‘colorful’ past. Another possibility is that he simply doesn’t want to continue the show. Given his age and the non stop war the Resistance continues to wage on him, this would be understandable, though of course he could never admit as much.

  19. blue peacock says:

    Barbara Ann
    If he doesn’t want to continue the show then he should withdraw from the race. It would likely severely bruise his ego if he got defeated by Dementia Biden in the Bunker. And it appears that seems paramount to him. Recall the big hands/small hands skit and now the walk down the ramp episode.

  20. Barbara Ann says:

    That’s exactly it. I am not afflicted with an outsized ego, but if I were I expect losing whilst being able to use fake news, the all powerful Deep State & countless other excuses as scapegoats, would be much less damaging to the ego than voluntary withdrawal. Winners can get cheated but there are far fewer ways to spin voluntary withdrawal as winning.

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