In a letter addressed to HBG general counsel Carol Ross and Javelin agents Matt Latimer and Keith Urbahn, who represent the anonymous author, assistant attorney general Joseph H. Hunt requested that HBG and Javelin "provide us with your representations that the author did not sign any non-disclosure agreement and that the author did not have access to any classified information in connection with government service." Hunt further requests that the publisher and agents provide the government with copies of any NDA they may be privy to, and/or the dates of the author's employment by the federal government and which agencies the author was employed by.
In a response, Ross wrote that HBG 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." She added: "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.”
HBG plans to release A Warning November 19.
The move from the DoJ represents the latest federal attempt to prevent the publication of a high-profile book critical of the administration. HBG is the third of of the Big Five publishers to be asked by the administration to cease publication of, or hand over information related to, a book the White House perceives as unfavorable, after Macmillan and Simon & Schuster.
“Our author knows that the President is determined to unmask whistleblowers who may be in his midst. That’s one of the reasons A Warning was written," Javelin said in a statement. "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.”