The United States Government has filed a lawsuit against former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, alleging he violated nondisclosure agreements by publishing a memoir without giving the Government an opportunity to review it first.

The Justice Department is seeking to "recover all proceeds" from Snowden's book, which was released this week.

Snowden published his book , Permanent Record, without submitting it for a pre-publication review, in violation of non-disclosure agreements he signed with both the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency, the Justice Department alleges.

In his memoir, Snowden tells his life story in detail for the first time and explains why he chose to risk his freedom to become perhaps the most famous whistleblower of all time.

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Edward Snowden reveals his life story for the first time in new memoir

It offers an expansive account of how he came to reveal secret details about the Government's mass collection of emails, phone calls and internet activity in the name of national security.

Snowden was charged under the US Espionage Act. He now lives in Russia in order to avoid arrest.

"The United States' ability to protect sensitive national security information depends on employees' and contractors' compliance with their non-disclosure agreements, including their pre-publication review obligations," Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said in a statement. "We will not permit individuals to enrich themselves, at the expense of the United States, without complying with their pre-publication review obligations."

In a tweet, Snowden said it is "hard to think of a greater stamp of authenticity than the US government filing a lawsuit claiming your book is so truthful that it was literally against the law to write".