Defense Department tried to block Esper from revealing Trump floated launching missiles into Mexico
The passage in the book, “A Sacred Oath,” which is out Tuesday, was a “major” sticking point when Esper submitted his manuscript for agency review, people familiar with the matter told CNN on Friday.
“They were particularly worried about this because of the potential to upset relations between the US and Mexico,” one of the people explained to CNN.
“They objected to it vehemently,” the person added.
Spokespeople for the Defense Department did not dispute CNN’s reporting when asked for comment on Friday.
Instead, a Defense Department spokesperson said, “We followed each of our long established protocols and policies, as we do for every book that is submitted for pre-publication review. Beyond that, we’ve nothing to offer.”
Members of the executive branch are required to submit book manuscripts for agency review in order to ensure that they do not contain sensitive material, such as classified information. The process, however, is not meant to be used to withhold information from the public only because it might be embarrassing to the government or officials who serve or have served within it.
Esper has claimed that, in his case, the process went awry.
Esper eventually dropped the lawsuit because the Pentagon reversed course on the “overwhelming majority” of material at issue, his lawyer, Mark Zaid, said at the time.
In the passage, a copy of which CNN obtained, Esper described the conversations as “quite troubling” and said that if he “hadn’t seen the look on the president’s face,” he would have “thought it was all a joke.”
Quoted from Various Sources
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