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Mark Esper: Former Pentagon chief sues Pentagon over book release – BBC News

Former Pentagon chief Mark Esper has sued the Pentagon over redactions to his forthcoming memoir.
In a lawsuit filed on Sunday, Mr Esper accuses the defence department of censoring portions of his manuscript "under the guise of classification".
He was "disappointed" to have his right to free speech violated, he said.
Mr Esper was appointed defence secretary in 2019 by former president Donald Trump, who fired him shortly after the November 2020 election.
His book, due to be released in May 2022, is an "unvarnished and candid memoir" of his time at the White House, according to the lawsuit filed in Washington, DC.
It accuses the agency that he led for 18 months of "arbitrarily" editing out the text of A Sacred Oath that Mr Esper said was "crucial to telling important stories discussed in the manuscript".
"No written explanation was offered to justify the deletions" and the Pentagon could not confirm that the redacted text contained classified information, the lawsuit said.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said: "As with all such reviews, the department takes seriously its obligation to balance national security with an author's narrative desire."
Rules require former defence officials to submit book manuscripts to the department to ensure that no state secrets are divulged.
The lawsuit called Mr Esper's time as Secretary of Defense one of "unprecedented" civil unrest, public health crises, growing threats abroad, and Pentagon transformation , with "a White House seemingly bent on circumventing the Constitution".
Mr Trump fired his defence chief on 9 November, 2020, shortly after losing the general election to Joe Biden, writing in a tweet that the Gulf War veteran had been "terminated" from the top Pentagon job.
According to a new book by an ABC correspondent, reasons included Mr Esper's decision to bar Confederate flags from military bases, his public opposition to Mr Trump's desire to use American military forces to put down racial justice riots, and Mr Esper's focus on threats from Russia.
Previously, the Trump administration sought to stop the publication of a memoir written by John Bolton, the former president's National Security Advisor, but failed.
Mr Esper said: "I am more than disappointed the current administration is infringing on my First Amendment constitutional rights".
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