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Memoir by Mark Esper — a former secretary of defense, Army — is due in May, after Pentagon drops its challenge

The Honorable Mark Esper

Mark Esper’s memoir of his time as Donald Trump’s Army secretary and fifth defense secretary — ending in his firing by tweet after the 2020 election — is on for May.

The Pentagon has reversed itself on redacting most of what it had deemed classified, said his attorney, Mark S. Zaid, and Esper dropped his lawsuit. That suit (November) said the Pentagon had “unlawfully imposed a prior restraint” by “delaying, obstructing and infringing” on his right to publish his unclassified manuscript. DOD’s cut of 50-plus pages from “A Sacred Oath,” Zaid said, “gutted substantive content and important story lines.” Other former officials also have fought prepublication restrictions on their writing about their time in the Trump administration, especially about private interactions with Trump.

The Wall Street Journal noted that “some former officials and government-transparency activists have long argued that the system is too broad and cumbersome, results in unreasonable publication delays or overzealous redactions and is unevenly applied.” Several groups have petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn a 1980 ruling that created the standards. (NYT, WSJ)

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