Thomas Drake commented on the blog post Justice Department Whistleblower Jesselyn Radack on Bradley Manning as Classic Whistleblower
MSPB Watch and jpcarson are making some interesting claims and assertions in response to the article as well as attacking Jesselyn Radack and the Government Accountability Project (GAP).
A little history is in order and I am only summarizing, but it’s clear that MSPB Watch and jpcarson do not understand the specifics of my case and are mischaracterizing GAP and GAP’s representation of me.
I am a former senior executive with the National Security Agency from 2001-2008.
While there I became aware of massive multi-billion dollar fraud, waste and abuse, the incalculable loss of critical intelligence as well as government illegality involving egregious violations of the Constitution.
I checked the regulations and statutes at that time regarding the best course of action I could take as a whistleblower and ended up making my protected communications disclosures to Congress and the intel committees under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA) due to the specific nature of my disclosures involving intelligence operations and national security.
I did not go to OSC (after I had checked) because my particular disclosures were best handled by the jurisdiction of Congress and the intel committees, where I was also called as a material witness for two 9/11 Congressional investigations during the December 2001 through the Summer of 2002 timeframe.
I was also called as a material witness for a Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (DoD OIG) audit/investigation conducted at NSA for almost three years based on a DoD IG Hotline Complaint submission in September 2002. NOTE: I was the unnamed senior official in that complaint.
During the 2001-2006 timeframe, OSC was not in a position to properly process the very sensitive (and even highly classified disclosures I made to Congress and later to the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General) involving intelligence activities and programs at the NSA. In addition, OSC had no jurisdiction regarding those particular disclosures.
However, Congress and the DoD OIG did and more importantly were the best protected communications channels for the disclosures I made during that time.
My criminal prosecution and indictment was based on the government alleging that I had retained classified information in an unauthorized manner for the purposes of disclosure as well as obstruction of justice and making false statements. Fact remains that the information I had retained (and later seized during an FBI raid) was actually unclassified and submitted in whole or in part as material evidence for the two 9/11 Congressional investigations as well as the DoD OIG audit/investigation at NSA.
I also categorically reject the assertion that I am a “foolhardy” soul or claims that I am a “poster” child for GAP.
GAP began to represent me shortly after I was indicted on 10 felony counts by the US Department of Justice on 14 April 2010 and after I had contacted GAP for whistleblower advocacy and support.
With criminal defense lawyers in the court of law before the District Court judge and GAP led by Jesselyn Radack in the court of public opinion while enabling critical support across the civil liberties and rights communities, I was able to prevail and remain a free man after a 5 year excruciating ordeal, in which at one point I was threatened by the chief prosecutor with spending the rest of my life in prison, if I did not cooperate with the DoJ national security investigation.
GAP also represented me pro bono.
I am aware that GAP is funded by others including private donations and foundations for the express purpose of funding GAP so they can represent government and corporate whistleblowers like myself who are more often than not blacklisted, bankrupted and broken from the ordeal.
It is a caricature to say that I am a victim of GAP. GAP was simply instrumental in my public defense across the board – from the President, to the Executive Director, to their General Counsel and the National Security & Human Rights Program led by Jesselyn Radack.
In addition, I have had direct contact with the highest levels of OSC since my criminal case concluded and they reaffirmed that the path I took for making the particular disclosures I did under the mantle of the ICWPA and its protected communications channels was the best and proper disclosure route for me to take at that time.
Given the more recent leadership changes at OSC, their ability to process disclosures from any government employee (including classified disclosures) and make proper referrals where they do not currently have jurisdiction, my own direct communication with their leadership, and the changes already in progress I am encouraged by their direction and engagement, while also recognizing that there is much history requiring attention and restoration of the rights and protections we must afford and provide federal employees, including those who become whistleblowers.
Whistleblowers suffer enough and I bear testimony to the high price paid as well as others (like John Kiriakou) who end up in jail for speaking truth to power.
Thomas Drake became a registered member