It remains possible that the Department of Justice will choose to make an example of Bolton to deter other former national security officials from publishing their memoirs absent review — if only to instill the fear of losing out on a big payday.
“Bolton was on notice that the book still contained classified information, and then intentionally disregarded this and proceeded to publish,” Andrew Bakaj, a former intelligence officer and founding partner of national security firm Compass Rose Legal Group, said in an email. “Seeing how vindictive this administration is, this should be a real concern for him,” he continued.
“If you recklessly handle classified information and it does get out, you can go to jail for it,” said Timothy Parlatore, an attorney who has represented multiple clients in prepublication review issues. These include Matt Bissonnette, author of “No Easy Day,” a best-selling firsthand account of the mission that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Bissonnette forfeited the net proceeds from the book in a civil case and settled with a previous lawyer. While the Justice Department threatened Bissonnette with criminal charges, prosecutors ultimately dropped multiple investigations.