File picture of Mark Esper and Donald Trump
Trump Fires Defense Secretary Mark Esper Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is facing obstacles in getting his book published. In a lawsuit, he claimed that the Department of Defense (DOD) is not clearing his book manuscript for publication, after he was told he needed to remove parts of the book about his time working under Donald Trump when he was the President.

The lawsuit was filed in US District Court in Washington Sunday, and it describes the book, “A Sacred Oath,” as an account of his tenure as Army secretary for two years starting from 2017 and his 18 months as defense secretary, which came to an end when Trump fired him days after he lost the 2020 Presidential election, reported NBC News.

During the pre-publication review of his manuscript, Esper ended up having disputes with the government agency. According to his lawsuit, a DoD staff member told him last month that he needed to make redactions to his memoir, according to CNN. The former Secretary of Defense said that the requested redactions covered quotes from Trump and other officials, interactions he had with the former President and his opinions related to foreign countries.

Esper, who was fired by Trump via a tweet in November last year, had an increasingly tense relationship with the former President that led him to pen a letter of resignation weeks before he was asked to quit, defense sources previously said.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement that they are aware of Esper's concerns regarding the pre-publication of his book, and explained that as with all such reviews, the "Department takes seriously its obligation to balance national security with an author's narrative desire."

In the lawsuit, his lawyers wrote that making the redactions "would be a serious injustice to important moments in history" that Americans need to be aware of and understand.

But after the DOD had a word with Esper about the redactions, stories about his time working under Trump then leaked to media, he said. This made him believe that the leaks were meant to "undermine the impact" information his memoir would have if it was first made public in his book.

According to him, the DOD's requested redactions were not classified information, and he said that earlier this month he tried connecting with the current Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, but didn't get a response. He took the legal route as now he wants the court to allow the publication of unclassified information in his book, which is expected to be published by May 2022.

Donald Trump and Mark Esper
US President Donald Trump, with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, speaks during the departure ceremony for the hospital ship USNS Comfort at Naval Base Norfolk on March 28, 2020, in Norfolk, Virginia. - The Comfort sails to New York City to aid in the coronavirus outbreak. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

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