The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Dylan Blaylock,202.408.0034 ext. 137,

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Addresses European Parliament on the American Surveillance State


Earlier today, former National Security Agency (NSA) Senior Executive Thomas Drake addressed a special Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) created by the European Parliament to investigate spying efforts by the United States and EU countries. Addressing specially-appointed Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), Drake spoke as a former NSA crypto-linguist who witnessed what he describes as a "persistent surveillance state" that was "born during the first few critical weeks and months following 9/11."

Drake's testimony can be read and viewed here:

Drake, a whistleblower, was the subject of a federal criminal leak investigation and faced a potential 35 years under a 10-felony count indictment, including five counts under the Espionage Act. In 2011, the federal government dropped all charges against Drake.

During his remarks today, Drake called for the EU to "examine the critical need for transparency and legal accountability" to protect free speech and association, while protecting those who expose government malfeasance and wrongdoing. Furthermore, he pointed to the need for "robust protections" against unwarranted acts of search and seizure.

Drake's recommendations also included a global "data protection treaty" to hold transnational companies and entities accountable from secretly compromising infrastructure that society depends on for business and trade.

"Tom offers us a rare glimpse beyond the veil of secrecy the NSA has spent hundreds of billions and decades cultivating," said GAP Executive & International Director Beatrice Edwards. "In the surveillance state, there are truly no boundaries."

The Government Accountability Project champions government and corporate accountability and transparency by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. Since its founding in 1977, GAP has fought to make large bureaucratic institutions accountable through the effective exercise of conscience.

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.