|Anthony Freda Art|
One of the original NSA whistleblowers, Thomas Drake, revealed his insider knowledge of government surveillance of U.S. citizens to Baltimore Sun reporter Siobhan Gorman in 2005. His eventual revelations about the subversion of the U.S. Constitution highlighted a $1.2 billion program called “Trailblazer” which Drake submitted was a program of “fraud, waste, and abuse.” He was subsequently charged under The Espionage Act and was facing 35 years in prison. Drake’s defense team actually hired James Bamford, author of The Puzzle Palace and Body of Secrets, as an expert witness. Bamford had lifted the veil in the late ’90s about a massive spying structure that far surpasses the capabilities of the CIA. The case for 10 felony charges against Drake could not stand up, and he reached a misdemeanor plea deal.
Drake was the first to come forward under a new climate of aggressive formal indictment for whistleblowers that equates their truth-telling with real espionage such as selling state secrets.
Drake discusses the background to his case in the following interview with Jesse Ventura, as well as his meeting with Edward Snowden and the current move to create a legal framework to imprison those who would come forward with information about government malfeasance. Rather than be repentant after exposure, the NSA is pushing for laws to silence investigative journalism completely. As Drake states: “National Security is the State religion.” It’s a religion that has a very violent and oppressive history.
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