Huge Victory for National Security Whistleblowers

(Washington, D.C.) – The Government Accountability Project (GAP) has learned that client Thomas Drake has agreed to a plea bargain arrangement on the charges brought against him by the federal government. While Drake was facing 10 felony counts and 35 years in jail, this settlement agreement stipulates no jail time or fines shall be imposed on him. In return, Drake will plead guilty to a mere misdemeanor. Drake appears publicly in court tomorrow to enter his plea.

The action taken against Drake by the Department of Justice was widely seen as a bellwether case for the current crop of the Obama administration’s prosecutions under the Espionage Act against national security and intelligence whistleblowers. Today’s news is an absolute victory for whistleblowers.

GAP Homeland Security and Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack commented, “This is a victory for national security whistleblowers and against corruption inside our intelligence agencies. The prosecution’s case was built on sand and crumbled under the weight of the truth.

“Tom Drake went through all proper and legal channels. His experience proves that, presently, there is no safe way to draw attention to wrongdoing at intelligence agencies. The intelligence community cannot keep using a broken classification system to escape responsibility for its internal corruption and lawbreaking.”

GAP represents Drake on whistleblower issues. He has a separate criminal defense team.

Radack continued, “No public servant should face 35 years in prison for telling the truth. The prosecution’s case imploded in the face of numerous negative rulings and huge public support for Tom Drake. This is incontrovertible proof that the Espionage Act should not and cannot be used to silence whistleblowers.”

Regarding the Obama administration’s ongoing prosecution of national security whistleblowers, Radack stated “Whistleblowers are not spies. The Espionage Act is a particularly heinous tool that should never be used to cover up government wrongdoing and punish whistleblowers that expose it. This sends a message to the Justice Department to abandon its perverted strategy of prosecuting whistleblowers under the Espionage Act.”

Tom Drake Background

Drake is a former National Security Agency (NSA) employee who is being prosecuted under the Espionage Act for retaining, not leaking, classified information about a data collection program that was costly, threatening to Americans’ privacy rights, and wholly undeveloped, despite the availability of a cost-effective, functional alternative that respected Americans’ privacy. He did everything by the book, raising concerns through official channels first — including senior NSA management, the Defense Department’s inspector general, and Congress. His concerns were ignored. Drake started, legally, communicating with a reporter — never sharing any classified information whatsoever. A series of articles exposed this billion-dollar affront to privacy rights.