As a senior official at the National Security Agency Thomas Drake witnessed not only widespread waste, fraud, and abuse, but also gross violations of our 4th Amendment rights.
He was a material witness and whistleblower on a multi-year Department of Defense Inspector General audit of a failed multi-billion dollar flagship program called TRAILBLAZER and a breakthrough multi-million dollar intelligence data collection, processing, and analysis system called THINTHREAD that was ready to deploy.
THINTHREAD had been carefully designed to handle data in massive amounts and variety, but to do so with built-in 4th Amendment and privacy safeguards, while providing superior intelligence. NSA rejected it.
Tom Drake stepped forward with the integrity, the courage, and — let’s say it, the true patriotism — to blow the whistle. The Department of Justice retaliated by indicting and prosecuting Drake under the Espionage Act and, once again, became the laughing stock of the legal profession.
In Drake’s case, government attempts to abuse the law to intimidate those who would speak truth to power expose in a telling way what has become the military-industrial-intelligence-surveillance-cybersecurity-congressional-media complex and its abuses, which drain our treasury, endanger our liberty, and make our country less — not more — secure.
Sam Adams Associates is not the first group to give high recognition to Tom Drake’s fearless integrity and endurance in the ordeal he was put through. Earlier this year he was awarded the Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize.
In partnership with Jesselyn Radack he writes and speaks on whistle blowing, privacy, civil liberties, secrecy, surveillance and abusive government power.
Presented this 21st day of November 2011 in Washington, DC, by admirers of the example set by former CIA analyst, Sam Adams.
Article by Linda Lewis on “Whistleblowing Today”
Four national security whistleblowers and a former CIA analyst appeared onstage Tuesday at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall for a roundtable discussion, “Beyond Orwell: Surveillance, Secrets & Whistleblowing in the Security State.”
Keynote speaker Daniel Ellsberg, the famed “Pentagon Papers whistleblower,” fired a broadside at the political establishment, saying the republic has been lost. An “executive coup” occurred on or before 9/11, he said, with the result that “elected monarchs” now rule through secret law. Ellsberg criticized Congress, the judiciary and journalists for failing to hold officials accountable for executive branch abuses of power. (More here.)
National security whistleblowers explained the challenges they faced when trying to expose wrongdoing or violations of the law and discussed the critical balance between civil liberties and national security. Speakers included Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers, and Edward Snowden’s attorney, Jesselyn Radack. Authors Sancy Tolan and Narda Zacchino participated from the audience.
“Whistleblowing and Journalism: The Role of Watchdogs in the National Security Era” was a panel of the Annenberg School event, “Patriot or Traitor? Whistleblowing and Journalism in the Age of Government Surveillance,” which was part of the Government Accountability Project’s “American Whistleblower Tour: Essential Voices for Accountability.” (CSPAN video here.)
A panel discussion on February 18, 2014 launches a new UK whistleblowers’ support network, “The Whistler,” hosted by Gavin MacFadyen of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, and Eileen Chubb of Compassion in Care, who exposed the abuse of elderly patients in the UK.
Ray McGovern (ex-CIA), Jesselyn Radack (ex-Department of Justice), Thomas Drake (ex-NSA) and Annie Machon (ex-MI5) supported the launch.
Jesselyn Radack and Thomas Drake were interviewed on how the U.S. and U.K. are colluding to stop whistleblowers by RT Show “Going Underground.”