Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence

Jesselyn Radack


Jesselyn Radack joined the Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. As an ethics advisor at Justice, she became embroiled in 2001 in the case of the so-called “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh, one of the most prominent prisoners of the Afghan war.

In our first glimpse of American-sponsored torture, a trophy photo circulated worldwide that showed Lindh naked, blindfolded, and bound to a board with duct tape. Against this backdrop, when the Justice Department sought Radack’s opinion about the ethical propriety of the FBI interrogating Lindh without his attorney, she advised that his counsel must be present.

When her advice was disregarded and then purged from the office file in contravention of a federal court discovery order, she resigned and blew the whistle. The “Justice” Department retaliated by making Jesselyn the target of a federal criminal “leak investigation,” by referring her to the state bars in which she is licensed as an attorney (based on a secret report to which she did not have access), and by putting her on the “No-Fly” List.

Not one to be intimidated, Radack began writing and speaking publicly about torture, “enemy combatants,” legal ethics and whistle blowing. In June 2005, she was elected to and served on the D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee, despite still being “under investigation” by the disciplinary arm of the bar.

The Justice Department decided not to refer the authors of the “torture memos” to the D.C. Bar, yet the bar referral against Radack is still pending.

Three years ago, in a major stoke of luck for whistleblowers past, present, and future, Jesselyn became the Director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project — the country’s leading whistleblower organization, where she focuses on issues of torture and government secrecy and surveillance. She is one of the lawyers who represented Tom Drake under circumstances that closely resembled her own.

Presented this 21st day of November 2011 in Washington, DC, by admirers of the example set by former CIA analyst, Sam Adams.

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