Makers of Snowden Documentary Face Legal

general movies.

Links come and go. If a link doesn't work please help us find a new working link.
WARNING: posting garbage links will get your account banned after first offence.

Note: Anyone can read this forum, only registered users may post or reply to messages.
Post Reply
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:45 am

Makers of Snowden Documentary Face Legal

Post by pokerguy » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:06 am

If you have not watched them you should really watch the various Edward Snowden films:
do a google search for:
citizenfour (2014)
Snowden (2016)
Snowden interviews

Interestingly the government is pulling old laws and having other people file charges against the film makers for telling this story.

Kansas attorney Jean Lamfers filed the suit on behalf of a former government worker who argues that Snowden and his collaborators should not be allowed to profit from his leaks. The plaintiff, Horace Edwards, who insists he is acting for the public, seeks to have a “constructive trust” imposed on the profits that would cause them to be turned over to the government.

reference: ... /#more-232

Makers of Snowden Documentary Face Legal Showdown over Leaks

CIA Author Points to U.S. Supreme Court Precedent

By Frank Snepp, January 8, 2015

A recent “exclusive” from The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Edward Snowden’s producer, who helped turn his secrets-bust into an Oscar-contending documentary, could be facing a financial bust for her trouble.

A newly filed lawsuit alleges that Laura Poitras and her production associates are guilty of helping the former NSA contractor breach his fiduciary obligations to the government.

If they lose, they could be obliged to forfeit all profits from “Citizenfour,” the documentary they filmed about Snowden and his decision to expose some of the NSA’s most sensitive classified information.

Kansas attorney Jean Lamfers filed the suit on behalf of a former government worker who argues that Snowden and his collaborators should not be allowed to profit from his leaks. The plaintiff, Horace Edwards, who insists he is acting for the public, seeks to have a “constructive trust” imposed on the profits that would cause them to be turned over to the government.

Under existing legal precedent, Edwards needn’t delve into the extent of Snowden’s security breach, or even prove its harmfulness, in order to prevail. He must only demonstrate that Snowden violated an obligation to clear his disclosures with the government and that the filmmakers helped him to overstep that duty.

Like all NSA and CIA employees Snowden signed non-disclosure agreements with an implicit fiduciary obligation to abide by them. The lawsuit holds that this obligation is transferable to Snowden’s accomplices.

As the ex-CIA agent who triggered the U.S. Supreme Court ruling now being used against Snowden and the filmmakers, I can testify that the case against them is viable, despite its grave implications for the media. It should serve as a wake-up call for all those in the press and film community who would help national security whistleblowers go public.

Check out this link for The Hollywood Reporter’s story about the case. Then check out my backgrounder for THR reporter, Eriq Gardner ... den-759839


Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Makers of Snowden Documentary Face Legal

Post by pokerguy » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:08 am


As the former CIA officer who triggered the Supreme Court decision now being directed at Snowden and his producers, I can assure you, sadly, that the case is rooted in established law.

decentWhen the U.S. Justice Department took me to court years ago for publishing an unauthorized CIA memoir, Decent Interval, about the fall of Vietnam, prosecutors considered going after my publisher, Random House and CBS’ “60 Minutes” for allegedly helping me breach my “fiduciary” (non-disclosure) obligations to the CIA. Ultimately they decided to spare my collaborators and to target me alone, on the theory that this was an easier legal shot.

It was a smart decision. With the focus on a single CIA officer, journalists and First Amendment purists were tricked into believing that the government’s action didn’t threaten the mainstream media, even though it did, as my lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, Mark Lynch and John Sims, fully realized.

The case reached the Supreme Court amid public hysteria over the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In early 1980 the Court ruled against me summarily without allowing my lawyers or the government’s to file any briefs. Under the fiduciary-violation concept endorsed by the Court, I was shorn of all my “ill-gotten gains,” amounting to thousands of dollars, including future profits from my book and any related projects.

I was also gagged for life, forced to submit to the CIA for vetting and censorship all writings, even fiction, arguably related to my government service. The practical effects are still with me. Through an ironic fluke, because of my CIA experiences, I am featured in a documentary now contending with “Citizenfour” for an Oscar nomination – Rory Kennedy’s “The Last Days In Vietnam.” Had I written down the interviews I gave her, I would have been obliged to seek CIA approval for them.

What made my case unique — and very distinct from the charges being leveled against Snowden – is that the government never accused me of betraying any national security secrets.

I was prosecuted for simply publishing without official approval. In the crisis atmosphere of Jimmy Carter’s failing presidency, the Supreme Court readily accepted the government’s claim that my unauthorized book, even minus secrets, threatened “irreparable harm” to the national security by tempting others into flouting CIA security regulations.

If that sounds like a tenuous allegation, imagine how I felt: no one had ever been prosecuted on national security grounds for publishing non-secrets with no proof of harm to anyone.

By contrast, Snowden proudly and loudly betrayed highly classified secrets, and Poitras seems to have been an active accomplice. According to the court filing against her and her production associates, she helped create the opportunity and circumstances that enabled him to sneak his secrets out of NSA.

But the case against her doesn’t turn on sensitivity of those secrets, and the plaintiff, Horace Edwards, needn’t prove that their disclosure was even harmful to the nation’s security in order to win.

Under the precedent in U.S. v Snepp, the key questions are whether Snowden had an obligation to get official approval for his disclosures, whatever their sensitivity, and whether Poitras actively abetted him in breaching that “duty.”

If the answers to both questions are “yes,” then she and her associates could be as liable as he (allegedly) is for violating his fiduciary duty to the government.

The penalty fashioned in my case for such “ill faith” is forfeiture of all “ill-gotten gains,” no proof of damage required. It is tantamount to a no-fault lien on all profits from a collaborative breach of contract, with the proceeds to go the American people, i.e., the U.S. Treasury.

Bad enough that a whistleblower should face such a blunderbuss hit for what may have been an act of conscience. Even worse that his or her collaborators might have to endure the same fate.

Imagine what would have happened if The New York Times or The Washington Post had been threatened with loss of all profits from publishing the Pentagon Papers, which Dan Ellsberg arguably leaked through a “breach of fiduciary obligation.” Would either newspaper have been able to afford such a savaging of its bottom line?

That’s the danger to the media posed by the Supreme Court ruling against me, which was handed down nine years after the Pentagon Papers affair.

So far the government has chosen to use the precedent against leakers, not “leakees.” Over the years a number of rogue memoirists from the national security community have been punished with Snepp-type gags and financial sanctions, most recently talkative Seal Team 6 stalwarts.

But the case against Poitras raises the possibility of a broader application – an assault on the media itself by private plaintiffs using Snepp as a weapon.

In the mid-1990’s the cigarette manufacturer, Brown & Williamson, made a stab in this direction in an effort to silence a former employee. Jeffrey Wigand, who was attempting to blow the whistle on the dangers of nicotine. Invoking the Snepp precedent, the manufacturer threatened 60 Minutes with damages if it were to assist him in breaching a non-disclosure agreement and fiduciary relationship with the company by airing an interview with him. CBS caved in and delayed the full interview — and was ridiculed in a Hollywood blockbuster about the episode, titled “The Insider.”

Make no mistake: I am no fan of using Snepp to “snip” Poitras or anyone else. But it would be foolhardy to pretend the First Amendment doesn’t allow it. The Supreme Court has already resolved that issue.

I believe the only way this precedent might be rolled back is if its potential is made crystal clear to the public, and the media.

I wrote about its dangers in my second book Irreparable Harm, and as an investigative journalist of thirty years standing I worry about the vulnerability of the media every day.

Regards, Frank Snepp

Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Makers of Snowden Documentary Face Legal

Post by pokerguy » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:36 am

You should also check out this site:
which has several articles about the person filing the case against snowden.

this is a semi current timeline of the case: ... shit-crazy

note several images will not copy so please go to the site for all the information.

Everything About the Edward Snowden / 'Citizenfour' Lawsuit Is Batshit Crazy
Everything About the Edward Snowden / 'Citizenfour' Lawsuit Is Batshit Crazy

Jason Koebler
Feb 25 2015, 11:12pm
​Screengrab: ​Citizenfour Trailer

​ A very misguided man in Kansas is suing Edward Snowden, ​Laura Poitras, and the ​official promoters of Citizenfour in one of the most annoyingly insane lawsuits in recent memory.

​The lawsuit, filed in December on behalf of the entire population of the United States, has been ​pretty well covered elsewhere, but some new developments, not least of which is Citizenfour's Oscar win, ​have made it noteworthy again. The general premise of the suit is that the film contains classified information, so it should be removed from release and re-edited in order to preserve national security.

Also, Poitras and Snowden should have to pay the government "billions of dollars to achieve restitution" for the damages done by Snowden's leaks.

The plaintiff, Horace Edwards, is a regular guy (as in, not a federal attorney) who identifies himself as a former naval officer. His and his attorney's actions since filing the suit, however, have only gotten more desperate and weird as it becomes ever apparent that the lawsuit is backfiring.

Reading the court case from start to finish is like taking a master's course in the Streisand effect and is a dictionary-perfect definition of frivolous litigation. Here is a rough timeline of events, which get increasingly odd as we move along in the proceedings.

October 10, 2014: Citizenfour is screened at the New York Film Festival.

October 17, 2014: Citizenfour is screened at the BFI London Film Festival.

December 12, 2014: Citizenfour is in 105 theaters in the United States.

December 19, 2014: Edwards and his attorney, Jean Lamfers, file their initial "billions" complaint, asking the judge to prevent the release of the film.

January 13, 2015: Lamfers files an "amended" complaint to include "United States of America" as a plaintiff. Yes, Lamfers attempts to sue on behalf of the US government.

January 15, 2015: Citizenfour is nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary.

January 23ish, 2015: Lamfers requests that Citizenfour not be allowed to be entered as evidence. Instead, it should be screened to the judge and to the judge only, she argues.

January 24ish: Poitras and her attorney deliver a copy of the film to the Lamfers. She does not take it well.

"I said I did not want to take possession of it. This was because of my understanding the film contains classified information based on my having seen the film. I received no response to [my] request from defendants' counsel [to bar the film from being entered as evidence in court]," Lamfers wrote in an email sent to the judge presiding over the suit. "To the contrary defendant's counsel delivered a copy of the DVD to my office (which remains unopened and under lock and key)."

Screengrab: Citizenfour

February 10, 2015: Poitras and her legal team are allowed by the judge to enter the film into evidence. Two DVD copies and a transcript of the film are submitted to the court

February 12, 2015: Edwards and Lamfers become concerned that the film has been entered into evidence. They file a motion to seal the DVDs, lest someone actually see the film.

Note that this injunction would only seal those two specific copies of the DVD. Citizenfour is still being screened in many theatres worldwide, and, in fact, was slated to premiere in seven new cities on the 13th.

February 13, 2015: Motion denied: "Given the inherently public nature of this film, the Court can discern absolutely no interest that could justify sealing this exhibit. Moreover, even if this DVD contained some sort of confidential information for which Plaintiff had an interest in preventing public disclosure, it has already been publicly filed," the judge wrote.

February 14, 2015: Cryptome, a site that posts hacker documents and that sort of thing, incorrectly assumes that, because the film was entered as evidence, it has entered the public domain and is free for anyone to use. Cryptome posts two copies of the full film for download on its website.

Defense provided 2 DVDs of Citizenfour as exhibit in Edwards suit. So film in public domain as unsealed record. On HBO 2/23/15. Leaking $.

— Cryptome (@Cryptomeorg) February 14, 2015

"I personally doubt this use of the film would avoid copyright infringement of uses of the film that were not otherwise fair, eg, comment on legal issues pertaining to the film," Jerome Reichman, a professor at Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain, told me.

In other words, you can probably download and watch the film to comment on whether or not this lawsuit has any merit. Edwards and Lamfers, therefore, have, by filing this lawsuit, perhaps indirectly exposed classified information to more people. In any case, there are now easy-to-access, direct download links to the film.

February 14, 2015: Lamfers is required to remove the United States government as a plaintiff in the case.

February 17, 2015: Lamfers calls the court on an "emergency basis" in an attempt to temporarily seal the DVDs pending appeal.

February 18, 2015: Court emails Lamfers back, urging the lawyer to not make random emergency calls to the court.

February 19, 2015: Lamfers emails the judge, at 12:46 AM local time (according to the court record), chastising the court for endangering national security and for not immediately responding to her call.

"This situation has placed the plaintiff in an untenable position regarding avoiding irreparable harm and obtaining appropriate relief sought on a serious issue in a timely manner," she wrote. "The denial of a sealing motion has furthered the irreparable harm and relief necessary to address such harm, among other things, by the continuing injury through repetition of classified, stolen information that reaches a broader constituency of extremists with each showing."

February 19, 2015: In a "supplemental memorandum pursuant to emergency contact with court via email," Lamfers suggests that "better safe than sorry" is not merely a turn of phrase, but that, literally, the DVD should have been put into a safe where it could never, ever be seen.

February 22, 2015: The court formally asks Lamfers to stop calling:

February 22, 2015: Citizenfour wins an Oscar.

February 23, 2015: Citizenfour is screened on HBO.

The case is still underway.

Post Reply