Prosecution of NSA Whistleblower Collapses
The Obama Administration’s highly touted effort to prosecute Thomas A. Drake, a former senior National Security Agency official, for violations of the Espionage Act due to his disclosure of pervasive fraud, waste, and abuse connected with a $1-billion surveillance-technology contract has collapsed in a federal court in Baltimore. In a plea-bargain arrangement, Drake agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of misuse of a government computer, while prosecutors agreed not to push for jail time. The Espionage Act charges that formed the core of the prosecution are being withdrawn.
Drake, the winner of this year’s Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling, for the exact actions that led to his prosecution, allegedly disclosed to the Baltimore Sun’s Siobhan Gorman evidence of gross corruption and ineptitude in the management of the “Trailblazer” data management contract by the NSA. Gorman’s articles on this subject, which contributed to the unraveling of the NSA’s Bush-authorized program of warrantless domestic surveillance, won her the prestigious Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award for Washington correspondence.