Punishing whistleblowers and rewarding criminals

One of the most outrageous realities of modern Washington, DC is that criminals not only escape punishment but are showered with riches after leaving government jobs while whistleblowers are punished in proportion to the severity of the crimes they have uncovered.

Here is — apparently — yet another example:

A former senior executive with the National Security Agency has been indicted on 10 felony charges related to the alleged leaking of classified information to a national newspaper in 2006 and 2007, the Justice Department announced Thursday morning.

Thomas A. Drake, 52, headed an office in the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Directorate at Fort Meade between 2001 and 2005, and continued to work with the agency as a high-ranking contractor through 2008, U.S. officials said. The indictment alleges that Drake exchanged hundreds of e-mails with an unidentified reporter for a national newspaper and served as a source for its articles about Bush administration intelligence policies between February 2006 and November 2007, U.S. officials said.

It’s not clear what Drake is accused of having revealed, but judging from his public defender’s words, Drake blew the whistle on some of the many illegal and unconstitutional actions the NSA has taken this decade:

“Mr. Drake loves his country. He’s very disappointed that criminal charges were brought and we were not able to resolve this matter in another way,” Wyda said.

The weirdest part of this case is that an NSA senior executive was sharing intelligence secrets via email. Didn’t Drake know the NSA routinely makes copies of most emails as they travel across the Internet?

Posted by James on Thursday, April 15, 2010