WASHINGTON (CN) – The CIA is violating the First Amendment rights of a former employee-turned-author by redacted parts of a manuscript she wrote about her years in the service, a complaint filed Monday in Washington, D.C., claims.
As recounted in a federal complaint filed on her behalf by attorney Mark Zaid, Nada Bakos, joined the CIA in July 2000 and worked her way through ranks, eventually serving on the team that hunted down Islamic State mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Al-Zarqawi was killed in an air strike in Iraq on June 7, 2006.
After leaving the spy agency, Bakos decided to write a book about her experiences. That book, “The Targeter: My Life in the CIA on the Hunt for the Godfather of ISIS,” is currently scheduled to be published on Aug. 1, 2019.
Bakos says she submitted the manuscript to the CIA’s publication review board in 2015, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the board responded by redacting material the agency believed revealed classified information.
Bakos says that in order to comply with the CIA’s wishes, substantial portions of her book would need to be “revised or deleted prior to publication.”
She says she tried to set up meetings with both the CIA and the Defense Department to discuss and address their concerns, but the meetings never happened.
Bakos also says the information the agency took issue with is not actually classified, and that the restrictions the CIA is trying to impose are violating her free speech rights.
“CIA has failed to demonstrate the existence of substantial government interests that would enable it to prohibit the publication of unclassified information within Bakos’ Manuscript,” the complaint says. “CIA’s restrictions imposed upon Bakos have been unduly vague and were not narrowly confined to avoid infringement of his First Amendment rights.”
Bakos is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and unspecified compensatory damages.