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Anonymous author's publishers warned by Justice Dept that book might be subject to prior review

Does "lodestar" really give clues to the NYT op-ed's authorship?

The Justice Department has written to the publishers of the soon-to-be-released book by the author of last year's anonymous New York Times op-ed, warning them that the author might be violating a nondisclosure agreement and the book might be subject to prior review. It's a move the author's literary agency is calling an attempt to "intimidate" the writer, who remains anonymous.

"A Warning," published by Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing and Hachette Book Group, is due out November 19, more than a year after the New York Times published the op-ed with the headline, "I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration."

"If the author is, in fact, a current or former 'senior official' in the Trump administration, publication of the book may violate that official's legal obligations under one or more nondisclosure agreements, including nondisclosure agreements that are routinely required with respect to information obtained in the course of one's official responsibilities or as a condition for access to classified information," a letter from Assistant Attorney General Joseph Hunt to the publishers dated Monday reads. "Such agreements typically require that any written work potentially containing protected information be submitted for pre-publication review."

The author's publisher and literary agency issued defiant statements in response, insisting they will proceed with the book's publication, and not submit it for prior review.

"Our author knows that the president is determined to unmask whistleblowers who may be in his midst," the literary agency Javelin said in a statement. "That's one of the reasons A WARNING was written. But we support the publisher in its resolve that the administration's effort to intimidate and expose the senior official who has seen misconduct at the highest levels will not prevent this book from moving forward."

Hachette in a statement said it "respectfully declines to provide you with the information your letter seeks."

"We are in receipt of your letter this morning. I confirm that Hachette Book Group ('Hachette') will be publishing an important book by an anonymous individual who is a 'current or former senior official' of the Trump Administration ('Anonymous')," Hachette said. "Hachette is not party to any nondisclosure agreements with the U.S. government that would require any pre-publication review of this book, and Hachette routinely relies on its authors to comply with any contractual obligations they may have. Hachette has, however, made a commitment of confidentiality to Anonymous and we intend to honor that commitment. Please be assured that Hachette takes its legal responsibilities seriously and, accordingly, Hachette respectfully declines to provide you with the information your letter seeks."

The publisher said "A Warning" will pick up where the New York Times op-ed left off. The author, however, will remain anonymous.

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