Thomas Drake is a former National Security Agency (NSA) employee who was 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. 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. But the consequences looked to be severe, with prosecutors looking to make him spend the rest of his life in prison. So in response, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) ran an all-out campaign, which included a petition here on Change.org with nearly 5,000 signatures, calling for the charges against Drake to be dropped.
Their efforts, thanks in part to the thousands of Change.org members who signed the petition, payed off.
On June 9, Thomas Drake 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 pled guilty to a mere misdemeanor. It's a real victory for whistleblowers in the US.
Tom Drake is a former National Security Agency (NSA) employee who discovered massive waste, corruption, and illegality at the agency. He used all the available legal and proper channels to fight the wrongdoing. Now the federal government is prosecuting him under the Espionage Act, and he's facing 35 years in prison.
A military veteran with intelligence experience, Drake discovered the NSA's use of 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. Now, Drake is being prosecuted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Espionage Act for retaining -- not leaking -- classified information.
The criminal prosecution of Tom Drake is selective and retaliatory. With this action, the DOJ is sending a clear message to federal whistleblowers: Expose corruption and risk your liberty.
Lend your voice to help Tom Drake, who risked his liberty to protect your rights. The Government Accountability Project (GAP) represents Drake on whistleblower issues, and we are asking you sign the petition below -- targeting the Attorney General and heads of the Congressional Judiciary Committees -- demanding to know why the Justice Department is selectively prosecuting him for protecting Americans and exposing gross waste.
Drake's trial starts on June 13. On Friday, June 3*, GAP will hand deliver this petition, along with your signatures, to the five people who can make a difference in this case. (* The original deadline of May 27 has been extended due to related developments - see updates below!).
· Eric Holder, Attorney General
· Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Senate Judiciary Committees Chairman
· Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member
· Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) House Judiciary Committee Chairman
· Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member
Holder heads the Justice Department and has the power to drop the prosecution and, the Judiciary Committees can provide desperately needed oversight to the Justice Department's handling of this case. Help us demand accountability and an explanation for why Tom Drake is being selectively prosecuted for his brave actions.