SNEPP v. UNITED STATES
Upon accepting employment in the CIA in 1968, Snepp signed an agreement with the Agency that he would not publish any information during or after his term of employment relating to the Agency's activities without first obtaining Agency approval. Snepp published a book about CIA activities in South Vietnam without first submitting his manuscript to the Agency for review. A lower court denied Snepp royalties from his book for his failure to secure approval.
Were Snepp's First Amendment rights violated?
No. The Court upheld the lower court's ruling and agreed that Snepp had breached the "constructive trust" between him and the government. That was especially significant in this case since this type of violation by a former agent "impairs the CIA's ability to perform its statutory duties" and potentially jeopardizes the safety of current government operatives and Snepp himself. The Court reached this decision without hearing oral argument by the parties.