Commentary, re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett
“I have already paid a frightfully high price for being a whistleblower but worse still lies ahead of me. … I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution and faithfully upheld the law of the land over a public service career spanning more than 20 years. [Yet] I now stand before you as a criminal defendant, with my own life and liberty very much at stake, in a public trial set to begin on 13 June in Baltimore, Maryland.”
“…My case is centered on a government prosecution bent not on serving justice, but on meting out retaliation, reprisal and retribution for the purpose of relentlessly punishing a whistleblower. Furthermore, my case is one that sends a most chilling message to other would-be whistle blowers — not only can you lose your job, but also your very freedom.” [Thomas Drake, NSA whistle blower]
A great danger to life and liberty — the whisper of liberty enshrined in great documents and treaties and laws potentially for all people — is a man harboring a pathological sense of his own inferiority who finds himself in a position of enormous power. Such a man “serves” with at least three layers of pathology: delusional inferiority, irrational fear, all shrouded in secrecy.
This layered pathology of fear and inferiority melts down any core of morality or ethics — any independent thought, any feeling of human being for human being, human rights, impartial lawfulness or even a basic “feeling with” (compassion).
This impaired man (or it could be a woman but in the United States man bars accomplished women from occupying the Oval Office) sitting in a seat of enormous power threatens liberty everywhere — because in office he must embrace an old, old guard, entrenched Governors/Corporate Power, long convinced of his inferiority, and with whom he secretly agrees. To prove to them that he is “worthy,” he must operate beyond the modus of brutality.
To receive their “reward,” their permission to persist in perceived power, he must adopt and exceed their modus operandi, exceed the brutally ingrained in a long line of brutes arrayed around him.
These thoughts returned to me as I listened today to the news and current affairs program Democracy Now, in particular another case of the Obama administration’s destruction of lives—from Aden to his own administration. This one is the case of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake. Discussing the Drake case on today’s program was former Department of Justice whistleblower, now homeland security director of the Government Accountability Project Jesselyn Radack.
Radack said, “[Tom] Drake tried to cooperate with the government and tried to report high-level criminal wrongdoing at the [National Security Agency within the U.S. Defense Department].” However, “instead of investigating criminal wrongdoing that led to one of the greatest scandals of my generation… [the Government chose] to go after Tom Drake, Tom Tamm, Russell Tice, people who were blowing the whistle on that misconduct. [Yet] people who engaged in it [misconduct] have gotten off scot-free, and laws have been passed to protect those lawbreakers.”
She admitted her own bewilderment that “the Obama administration, in particular” is conducting what she termed “selective prosecution … an abusive prosecution.”
In comparison, Radack said, “You have people like Bob Woodward publishing books with much higher-level, tippy-top classified information… and other people who have taken home classified information, on purpose, who get a slap on the wrist. Then you have Tom Drake, who is alleged to have taken home classified information, but we’re talking about five very innocuous pieces of information that were only deemed to be classified after they were seized from his home and after the government did a forced classification review of them.” This is “definitely selective and quite vindictive,” she said.
Democracy Now played an audio of Thomas Drake speaking at a public event in which he said —
“Truth tellers, such as myself, are those who are simply doing their jobs and honoring their oaths to serve their nation under the law of the land.
“We are dedicated to the proposition that government service is of, for, by the people.
“We emphatically do not serve in order to manipulate on behalf of the powerful, or to conceal unlawful, illegal or embarrassing secrets from the public, because truth does matter.
“Truth may be inconvenient. It may cause embarrassment. It may threaten the powers-that-be and their unlawful activities, but it is still the truth. I have but this one life to live….”
Cooperation with official investigations a criminal act
“It is now apparently a federal crime to report illegalities, malfeasance, fraud, waste and abuse perpetrated by our own government. The government is making whistle blowing a crime. They are making dissent a crime, especially when it embarrasses the government and calls the government to account.
“What is the difference between my situation and that of the Chinese artist who was detained when trying to leave his country because Chinese authorities deemed him a threat to national security?”
Thomas Drake “faces 35 years in prison for espionage.”
No one poses a greater threat to liberty than one in a seat of enormous power who secretly feels himself inferior to and is in fear of old power arrayed around him. This layered deeply rooted pathology is lethal.
Sources and notes
“Inside Obama’s ‘Orwellian World’ Where Whistle blowing Has Become Espionage: The Case of Thomas Drake,” May 18, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/5/18/inside_obamas_orwellian_world_wher...
Jesselyn Radack is a former Department of Justice whistleblower. She is currently the homeland security director of the “Government Accountability Project,” http://www.whistleblower.org, the nation’s leading whistleblower organization.
“Jesselyn Radack Discusses the Case of Thomas Drake:Whistleblower Daily News” (Lindsay Bigda), May 17, 2011, http://www.whistleblower.org/blog/31-2010/1121-jesselyn-radack-discusses...
U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)
Housed within the U.S. Department of Defense, NSA is the U.S. intelligence agency that is responsible for cryptographic and communications intelligence and security. It grew out of the communications intelligence activities of U.S. military units during World War II and in 1952 was established by presidential directive. As it was not a creation of the U.S. Congress, the NSA is relatively immune to Congressional review. It is the most secret of all U.S. intelligence agencies. Its director is a military officer: a general or admiral.
The mission of NSA includes “the protection and formulation of codes, ciphers, and other cryptology for the U.S. military and other government agencies, as well as the interception, analysis, and solution of coded transmissions by electronic or other means. The agency conducts research into all forms of electronic transmission. It operates posts for the interception of signals around the world.” Britannica note
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