Edward Snowden Thanks William Barr for Helping His Book to Top the Charts: 'The Best Hype Man I've Ever Had'

Edward Snowden credited the U.S. attorney general as a "hype man" this week, saying a lawsuit against his new memoir likely helped it become a global bestseller.

Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked details of the vast mass surveillance apparatus being used by global intelligence agencies back in 2013, jokingly praised AG William Barr by saying the case filed against the Macmillan-published title was free advertising.

"The government sued me on the day this book hit the shelves," the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor-turned-whistleblower said during a wide-ranging interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah yesterday. "The book was not getting that much attention."

"It was, like, 25 on the charts, and then the government said, you know, we don't want you to read this book. They said, 'God, sue Snowden as fast as you can, do anything you can, stop it, stop it, stop it.' Now we're number one basically everywhere. So you could say the Attorney General is the best hype man I've ever had," the 36-year-old added in the segment.

The memoir, titled Permanent Record, is currently one of the top selling books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It gives Snowden's own perspective on arguably the biggest story of 2013, as he leaked a trove of secret information to journalists and ended up exiled inside Russia. The files showed how spy agecies scoop up vast quantities of data from phone calls, texts and social media.

The U.S. Department of Justice, led by Barr, announced it was suing the publisher and Snowden on September 17, the same day as the book's release. Authorities said it violated non-disclosure agreements with the CIA and NSA, and was had not been submitted for review.

The lawsuit did not seek to stop or restrict the publication or distribution of the book but instead sought to recover to recover all proceeds from its sale. The DoJ said the publisher had been named in the case to ensure that no funds were transferred to Snowden.

"We will not permit individuals to enrich themselves, at the expense of the United States, without complying with their pre-publication review obligations," the assistant attorney general, Jody Hunt, said in a firm statement at the time, branding the book a breach of public trust.

Snowden told Noah during the interview this week that he stood by his decision to leak, and said he believed his actions resulted in positive changes across the world.

He said: "The entire structure of the internet has changed since 2013. The world's biggest technology firms, good and bad, for privacy, have re-engineered the kind of protections that we experience. Simply because they realized the government was going in under cover of darkness and helping themselves to the buffet without anybody noticing."

"Before 2013, the idea of mass surveillance, people knew it was possible... but it was kind of a conspiracy theory because it was a suspicion," Snowden continued. "That distance, between suspicion and fact, is everything in a democracy. That is all we have in a free society because If we can't agree on what is happening how can we decide what we should do about it?

Edward Snowden book
Newly released "Permanent Record" by Edward Snowden is displayed on a shelf at Books Inc. on September 17, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty
Edward Snowden Thanks William Barr for Helping His Book to Top the Charts: 'The Best Hype Man I've Ever Had' | News