Trump defense chief Esper sues Pentagon for redacting parts of memoir

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump listens to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speak about coronavirus response at the White House in Washington

(Reuters) - Former U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense for withholding parts of a memoir about the time he spent in the administration of Donald Trump.

The book, "A Sacred Oath", sheds light on events that occurred during the second half of Trump's presidency, Esper said.

The Department "arbitrarily" redacted the manuscript after he submitted it to DoD officials for review, he said in a statement.

"Significant text is being improperly withheld from publication ...under the guise of classification. The withheld text is crucial to telling important stories discussed in the manuscript," Esper's lawsuit, filed in a federal court, said.

Esper served as Trump's defense secretary from June 2019 to November 2020, when he was fired over a range of differences on policy issues.

They included Esper's public opposition to Trump's threats to use active duty military forces to suppress street protests over racial injustice after police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The DoD did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment sent during overnight hours.

(Reporting by Vishal Vivek and Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet)

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