Publisher Rejects DOJ Demand For Identifying Info On Anonymous NYT Op-Ed Writer

President Donald Trump talks to journalists on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on October 04, 2019. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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November 4, 2019 5:42 p.m.

The publisher of an upcoming exposé by the anonymous senior Trump official behind the infamous New York Times op-ed rejected the Justice Department’s demand for revealing information on the official on Monday, per a letter obtained by TPM.

DOJ Assistant Attorney General Joseph Hunt reached out to Hachette Book Group earlier on Monday warning that the book “may violate that official’s legal obligations under one or more nondisclosure agreements.”

Claiming that such agreements require a “pre-publication review” of any book written by an administration official, Hunt also requested Hachette provide documents proving that the official had not signed an NDA with the administration and did not have access to classified information.

“If you cannot make those representations, we ask that you immediately provide either the nondisclosure agreements the author signed or the dates of the author’s service and the agencies where the author was employed, so that we may determine the terms of the author’s nondisclosure agreements and ensure that they have been followed,” Hunt wrote in his letter.

Carol Ross, the executive vice president of Hachette, sent a short response telling Hunt that the firm “respectfully declines” to comply with the Justice Department’s request.

“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,” Ross wrote. “Hachette has, however, made a commitment of confidentiality to Anonymous and we intend to honor that commitment.”

Read the DOJ’s letter and Hachette Group’s response below:

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