Former National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is releasing a memoir titled Permanent Record on September 17th. The book, to be published by Macmillan Publishers imprint Metropolitan Books, will focus on Snowden’s time in the NSA, the massive surveillance apparatus he helped build there, and his internal conflicts that led him to eventually disclose the NSA’s activities to journalists like then-Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald.
The numerous articles based on Snowden’s information published in The Guardian and The Washington Post earned the respective journalists the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, and Snowden’s disclosures have had a direct impact on the shutdown of controversial NSA programs.
In conjunction with the announcement of his memoir, Snowden also published a video to his personal Twitter account, where he commands a following of more than 4 million, expressing his regrets for working for the US government.
I wrote a book. pic.twitter.com/wEdlOFMnMn
Snowden currently lives in Moscow, Russia, having fled there after initially disclosing top-secret information to journalists in Hong Kong back in 2012. Russia granted Snowden asylum, and he currently has a visa allowing him to stay in the country until 2020. The US government has continuously expressed its desire to extradite Snowden and to try him for treason and violations of the Espionage Act, for which he would likely serve a life sentence.
Incidentally, Chelsea Manning, arguably the most iconic and impactful fellow whistleblower of the modern era next to Snowden, was in fact tried in US military court and jailed on a sentence of 35 years, until former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence prior to leaving office in early 2017.
Although Snowden is unlikely to ever receive the same treatment considering his years-long exile in Russia, he has nonetheless become an active member of various pro-privacy and human rights organizations and movements. He often speaks from video conference at US gatherings on subjects like government surveillance and overreach, rights abuses, and Western democracy, and he has assumed the role of president for the San Francisco-based nonprofit organization Freedom of the Press Foundation since 2016. Snowden was also the subject of the Oscar-winning 2014 documentary Citizenfour.
“Edward Snowden decided at the age of 29 to give up his entire future for the good of his country,” Macmillan CEO John Sargent said in a statement to The New York Times. “He displayed enormous courage in doing so, and like him or not, his is an incredible American story.”