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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 7, 2011
12:11 PM

CONTACT: Government Accountability Project

Dylan Blaylock
Email: dylanb@whistleblower.org
Phone: 202.236.3733

Over 4,100 Citizens Stand Up for Tom Drake

Petition Delivered to Judiciary Heads, Eric Holder Growing Chorus, including Washington Post, Voices Concern Over Charges

WASHINGTON - June 7 - This past Friday, June 3, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) delivered a petition to the heads of both the Senate and House of Representatives Judiciary Committees, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder, regarding the selective and unjust prosecution of National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Thomas Drake.
 
Over 4,100 people lent their voices to demand that the Department of Justice drop its case against Drake, who exposed gross waste and wrongdoing at the agency. Specifically, the petition (which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/mU1iVZ) states:
 
I find it shocking that the Department of Justice is prosecuting National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Tom Drake for exposing gross waste and wrongdoing at his agency.

And continues:
 
Why is the Department of Justice prosecuting Tom Drake for acting to protect our rights? And why is he being charged as a spy for his role in fighting gross waste and wrongdoing at the NSA? I urge you to conduct proper oversight and demand that the Justice Department drop the retaliatory prosecution of Tom Drake.

"The widespread support for Tom Drake has accumulated in the past few weeks, and the message is clear. The public is behind Tom Drake, and is against the federal government's selective and retaliatory prosecution of this hero," stated GAP Homeland Security & Human Rights Counsel Kathleen McClellan.
 
Drake has been charged under the Espionage Act with retaining, not leaking, allegedly classified information. His trial is slated to begin next Monday, June 13. GAP represents Drake on whistleblower issues. He has a separate criminal defense team.
 
Specifically, the petition was sent to Attorney General Eric Holder, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI).

Holder heads the Justice Department and has the power to drop the prosecution and, the Judiciary Committees can provide desperately needed oversight to the Justice Department's handling of this case.

Growing Chorus of Support

In today’s edition of the Washington Post, the paper's editorial board criticized the federal government for its charges of Drake, stating that the action taken against him "smacks of overkill and could scare others with legitimate concerns about government programs from coming forward." Furthermore, despite being charged under the Espionage Act, the Post states that most individuals "would not confuse him for a spy."
 
For the full Washington Post masthead editorial, click here
 
This viewpoint is the latest of several articles and reports focusing on the federal government's mistreatment and retaliation of Drake for having integrity and acting nobly -- in the country's best interest. More stories about Drake can be read here.

Background

Drake discovered the NSA's use of a data collection program that was costly, threatening to Americans’ privacy rights, and wholly undeveloped, despite the availability of a cost-effective, functional alternative that respected Americans’ privacy. He did everything by the book, raising concerns through official channels first -- including senior NSA management, the Defense Department's inspector general, and Congress. His concerns were ignored. Drake started, legally, communicating with a reporter -- never sharing any classified information whatsoever. A series of articles exposed this billion-dollar affront to privacy rights. Now, Drake is being prosecuted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Espionage Act for retaining -- not leaking -- classified information. More on the Drake case can be read at: http://bit.ly/czaFwZ

In April 2011, Drake was awarded the Ridenhour Prize for Truth Telling – a prominent annual whistleblower award given by the Fertel Foundation and the Nation Institute. It is recognized as the most prestigious honor a whistleblower can receive in America.

Drake’s Ridenhour acceptance speech can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/m3JC5D

The introduction of Drake by Jesselyn Radack can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/msOyTx

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The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a 30-year-old nonprofit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. We pursue this mission through our Nuclear Safety, International Reform, Corporate Accountability, Food & Drug Safety, and Federal Employee/National Security programs. GAP is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization.


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