The New Yorker features a lengthy story on NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake who is scheduled to appear in court next month where he will face a ten-count indictment:
According to a ten-count indictment delivered against him in April, 2010, Drake violated the Espionage Act—the 1917 statute that was used to convict Aldrich Ames, the C.I.A. officer who, in the eighties and nineties, sold U.S. intelligence to the K.G.B., enabling the Kremlin to assassinate informants. In 2007, the indictment says, Drake willfully retained top-secret defense documents that he had sworn an oath to protect, sneaking them out of the intelligence agency’s headquarters, at Fort Meade, Maryland, and taking them home, for the purpose of “unauthorized disclosure.” The aim of this scheme, the indictment says, was to leak government secrets to an unnamed newspaper reporter, who is identifiable as Siobhan Gorman, of the Baltimore Sun. Gorman wrote a prize-winning series of articles for the Sun about financial waste, bureaucratic dysfunction, and dubious legal practices in N.S.A. counterterrorism programs…
Obama, prior to his election, during his ‘change’ campaign, had pledged his support for protecting national security whistleblowers, and had done so on record. As with the rest of his promises it didn’t take him long to switch positions on this front. In fact, he has broken the record among all US presidents, one that puts him in US history as the worst president when it comes to whistleblowers, truth-telling and transparency. Think Bradley Manning. Think Jeffrey Sterling. Think James Risen. Think Pentagon’s Fahrenheit 451 revisited– burning Lt Col Anthony Shaffer’s books. Think the Grand Jury on Wikileaks. And of course, think Thomas Drake:
When President Barack Obama took office, in 2009, he championed the cause of government transparency, and spoke admiringly of whistle-blowers, whom he described as “often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government.” But the Obama Administration has pursued leak prosecutions with a surprising relentlessness. Including the Drake case, it has been using the Espionage Act to press criminal charges in five alleged instances of national-security leaks—more such prosecutions than have occurred in all previous Administrations combined. The Drake case is one of two that Obama’s Justice Department has carried over from the Bush years.
Gabriel Schoenfeld, a conservative political scientist at the Hudson Institute, who, in his book “Necessary Secrets” (2010), argues for more stringent protection of classified information, says, “Ironically, Obama has presided over the most draconian crackdown on leaks in our history—even more so than Nixon.”
If you ever come across a cool-aid drinking vote waster who argues against Obama being far worse than his predecessor when it comes to whistleblowing, truth-telling and transparency, please send him or her my way. I believe what I went through as a whistleblower for seven years under the Bush presidency gives me unarguable moral authority. As the most gagged woman in the history of this nation who has received two separate state secrets privilege invocations, whose right to due process via the judiciary branch has been taken away, whose case has put the United States Congress under a gag order, who has been subjected to torturous polygraph tests and having her home computer confiscated …Well, you see what I mean by my moral authority, and with that I am saying it again firmly: Obama has been far worse than Bush in cases of government whistleblowers- truth-tellers exposing government waste, fraud, abuse and criminality.