NSA Leaker Thomas Drake on Snowden's Case

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

National Security Agency (NSA) (Chris Hardie/flickr)

What might have happened if the former defense contractor Ed Snowden had decided to stay here and had taken up his complaint within the official chain of command?

It's what former National Security Agency (NSA) official Thomas Drake, one of Snowden's idols, did. After September 11th, Drake became uncomfortable about the agency’s top-secret counterterrorism programs.  He grew to believe that the NSA’s actions, which included warrantless wiretapping “subverted the Constitution.”

Drake took his complaint to the highest levels of the NSA, to Congress, the Pentagon and finally the press. He was eventually indicted by the Justice Department and faced up to 35 years in prison. But eventually, the charges against Drake were dropped and he pleaded guilty to a minor misdemeanor.

Drake explains why he supports Snowden and describes his concerns about the NSA's actions following 9/11.


Thomas Drake

Produced by:

Tyler Adams and Mythili Rao


T.J. Raphael

Comments [6]

wildbill from SOUTH CAKYLAKY

only the tip of a gigantic iceberg!

Aug. 12 2013 10:12 PM

I am glad that the media sources have the actual Government orders --powerful documents--in their hands to see the proof of the secret surveillance; wiretapping of the citizens, residents of the USA, and businesses--domestic and international. Snowden brought to light what is the actual illegal action of the executive branch of the government based on bypassing the constitutional laws. The first time I heard a snapshot discussions about the special "judges's orders" and "legal procedures" involving the legal system in spying on people, foreigners, or flagging the individuals. We have to know more about this part of the story. Much more, such as, did any of the judges use these type of the surveillance to support the case for the criminal charges as well? How far the flagging and surveillance have actually gone in institutionalized social, political, and economic net? .... It resembles too much to the Stasi regime, and the USA should not follow this path. What surprised me that the people in the USA didn't seem too much troubled by Snowden's documents, and majority of the electronic media coverage shifted so fast from the facts to the political media analysts games--switching the actual reporting and normative status of factual to the defending a voice of the government view, where by which Snowden is dismissed as the traitor charged with espionage act and stealing the property of the US government.

One more point. In my view, Snowden had to escape. The difference between Thomas Drake's situation and Edward Snowden's case is that the political and government establishment signed and approved the S 1867. The USA is defined by this law as the battlefield. In this new circumstances Snowden couldn't simply tell the truth to a reporter, "stand tall" and take chance to face the executive order based on S 1867. Why no media have discussed this perspective at all? As to Snowden, thanks to Thomas Drake for supporting his actions. Yes, brave acts still make a difference, and I wish more people stand for defending their civil liberties.

Finally, I know that this part of my comment may not be very popular, but I'll still go on with my remark. One thing stunned me. Edward Snowden's father interaction with the media. He stated before the cameras that his son, Edwards Snowden, broke the US law, but wanted good for the American people; Well, E. Snowden produced the revealing documents, proofs of the government illegality. How one brings down the unjust law(s)? Who broke the law actually in all of this mess?

Jun. 29 2013 12:56 AM
Snowden Hero from AMERICA

Hearing "journalist" Hockenberry discredit Snowden as a trouble-making rebel rouser, who was out to take down the system from the "get" - reminds me the nbc david gregory interview where he actively questioned why snowden isn't being treasonous (over and over again).
and it actively reminds me of the Frank Rich article in new york magazine, explaining why david gregory is a sorry excuse for a journalist.
Thank you john hockenberry, your service on public broadcasting is immeasurable.

Jun. 27 2013 08:22 AM
tom from LI

Snowden "going after" the NSA for its illegal behaviors, if that's what he truly did as trusting the POWER opinion on this is shaky - its not worse or less moral, than what Drake, or anyone else who in the line of their work come upon such behaviors and blew the whistle. Its no different than someone who was wronged by the police, or had a family member wronged - and they become a cop to "take them down" (melodramatic choice of words by the Host) or right the wrongs. Is it wrong to go into a "profession" to try and right its bad behaviors?

Not in my world. And it shouldn't be in any world.

Jun. 26 2013 03:57 PM
mo from Portland, OR, USA

I'm wondering: if, as it has been widely reported by The Guardian, that this NSA activity is "the tip of the iceberg", why is this info doled-out piece-meal? What is the strategy here?

Jun. 26 2013 01:32 PM
izaco hernandez from Fort Lauderdale

FINALLY! I am tired of hearing US news agencies assassinate Snowden's character. Would you call someone a traitor if they leaked the truth about the Bush Administration's excuse to invade a sovereign country using lies like 'weapons of mass destruction' in Irag. Think of all the brave men and women who sacrificed life and limb solely because no one in the Bush Administration had the backbone to speak up and 'leak' the true intentions for the Iraq Invasion. Are there US citizens who trust our government 100%? That the US will never lies?

Jun. 26 2013 09:59 AM

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