Tuesday, October 26, 2010

JESSELYN RADACK, http://jesselyn-radack.dailykos.com
Radack is homeland security and human rights director of the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit public interest group based in Washington, D.C. She is a whistleblower herself and is closely following the cases of whistleblowers whom the Obama administration is prosecuting.

She said today: “Daniel Ellsberg, famous for leaking the Pentagon Papers, in the New York Times recently said that the criminal investigations under Obama of three Americans (Bradley Manning [the alleged source of the WikiLeaks documents], Thomas Drake, and Shamai Leibowitz) accused of leaking government secrets represented a new low. In both the Manning and Drake cases, America is projecting its sins onto the men who brought American crimes to light. The government has expressed its intent to prosecute both men under the Espionage Act — a law meant to go after spies, not whistleblowers.

“In the Drake case, he went through all the ‘proper’ internal whistleblowing channels — the NSA Inspector General, the Defense Department Inspector General and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — about a failed billion-dollar NSA domestic surveillance program. The Defense Department Inspector General issued a report that substantiated Drake’s claims — but it was never made public. Eventually, Drake went to the media — as did Ellsberg, Manning, and Thomas Tamm (who, like Drake, blew the whistle on NSA crimes).

“The whistleblowers allegedly divulged information that the government claims was classified. But the information was more embarrassing to the administration than a boon to our enemies. These brave men placed their oath to uphold the Constitution — which Drake took four times during his lengthy military and government service — above various non-disclosure agreements (what the government likes to call ‘secrecy’ or ‘loyalty’ agreements). And Drake never gave classified information to a reporter — nor is he accused of doing so; rather, he is charged with ‘willful retention for the purpose of disclosure.’ That’s not even a real crime. It’s the perversion of selected phrases from various laws collapsed together to manufacture a crime under which the government could go after Drake. For attempting to stop waste, abuse and illegality, Drake faces 35 years in jail. So, I have to ask, why is the government using your taxpayer dollars to support illegalities, as well as for selective, malicious prosecutions of people who are trying to get the truth out?”

Background: See Jesselyn Radack’s Los Angeles Times op-ed piece “Obama’s Record-Setting Leak Prosecutions” http://is.gd/gkuXE

Also see Government Accountablity Project statement: “WikiLeaks Release Underscores Need for Whistleblower Protections, Effective Channels”: http://is.gd/ginMz

The Project has set up a petition for Drake’s case: http://bit.ly/9zXnef

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167