From Thomas Drake, via RootsAction Education Fund <[email protected]>
Subject Truth-Telling Whistleblower vs. Always-Lying Smokeblower
Date October 25, 2022 6:59 PM
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*What a contrast *between Thomas Drake and Donald Trump.

Many years after an ordeal of federal persecution, NSA whistleblower Drake is still digging out from a mountain of debt after huge legal bills and loss of income. Meanwhile, Trump shuttles between opulent homes after hoarding classified documents.

* Drake spoke truth about power and fought for the privacy rights of U.S. citizens; he paid a steep price. Trump abused power; so far, he has gotten away with it.*

The RootsAction Education Fund asks you to join in supporting Tom Drake, the former National Security Agency high-level executive who persists with an authoritative, ongoing call for whistleblowing. His new essay is below.

Thanks to many supporters, Tom has been able to continue his work as chair of the Whistleblowers Public Education Campaign. Now, we want to invite you to *make a tax-deductible donation so that Tom's vital work can go on* [ [link removed] ].

Whether or not the rare whistleblowers at places like the NSA go to prison, *a key official goal is to drive them close to the poverty line for the rest of their lives*, deprived of pensions and rendered unemployable for all but low-paid jobs.

If you *click here to support Tom Drake as a "national security" whistleblower who continues to expose the sinister machinations of power* [ [link removed] ], you can make a tax-deductible contribution. Whatever you can afford would be deeply appreciated. Half of every dollar you donate will go directly to Tom, while the other half will support the Whistleblowers Public Education Campaign.

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*And now, we're pleased to unveil an essay that Tom Drake just wrote for the RootsAction Education Fund:*

Admittedly, in light of the months-long attention surrounding the documents drama that directly involves former President Trump and continues to hijack the news on a daily basis, I am experiencing a lot of flashbacks to a time when the government went after me with the Espionage Act for alleged unauthorized retention of highly classified documents.

The gulf between my case and what Trump is facing is surreal for me, and I thought I would share a few realities with you all as this soap opera plays itself out in the media and in the courts and also in the court of public opinion.

Right away I want to acknowledge that what we know just publicly alone to date is bad enough regarding Trump's probable-cause violations of the Espionage Act, and of Concealment and Obstruction statutes, and all his dissembling and lying about it.

He clearly took massive piles of documents that he was patently not authorized to keep at his private residence. These documents were stored across dozens of boxes that resulted in an FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago based on a probable-cause criminal investigation of unauthorized retention of highly classified documents -- as well as concealment and obstruction of justice for documents that belonged to the National Archives and Records Administration -- that Trump had stored insecurely. There is even the worst-case scenario where he may have violated other Espionage Act statutes involving highly unauthorized disclosures to others.

Yet the Justice Department is going way out of its way to treat him far more gently and frankly with kid gloves, with tons of deference and quite generous coddling thrown in -- especially when compared to the department's malicious, vindictive and retaliatory treatment of me and others.

This hypocrisy is exemplified by the egregious Espionage Act case the government made against me using the full anvil weight and abusive power of the State they dropped on me in the form of a 10-count indictment enhanced by a very public relations release regarding how much of an extreme thereat I posed to the national security of the United States for the act of blowing the whistle on the crimes and wrongdoing committed by the State.

They marked me as a person of interest and then as the primary target of a multimillion-dollar criminal "leak" investigation that included a dedicated cadre of twenty-five FBI agents and even personnel from their spy/mole hunters unit -- who tracked me relentlessly physically and electronically for upwards of 18 months, then unceremoniously raided and ransacked my residence, car and office via three search warrants.

News media were also alerted during the FBI raid at my residence. Highlights of their raid were all over the local broadcast stations for a couple of days and then I was eventually summarily and very publicly indicted 2.5 years later under 18 USC 793e (unauthorized retention of classified national defense information for the purposes of disclosure), 1519 (obstruction of justice) and 1001a (lying to FBI agents) -- facing 35 years in prison.

All of this occurred despite the fact I was approved and authorized to remove several boxes of unclassified documents and personal effects and papers from the National Security Agency when I left NSA headquarters for a teaching position at the National Defense University in Washington, DC. And yet none of the charging documents in their indictment were classified as ruled by the judge during the later months of the classified pre-trial hearings sealed off from the public. Why?

Government criminalized me for whistleblowing on the epigenesis of the super-secret mass surveillance regime unleashed right after 9/11 (known as the President's Surveillance Program), the massive 9/11 intel failures and billions in fraud, and then my going to the press in the public interest with unclassified information after serving as a primary and material eyewitness for multiple internal government inquiries and investigations.

And yet the government alleged that I was an Enemy of the State, worse than a spy, and even argued in the courtroom that I would have the blood of American soldiers on my hands.

Later the U.S. Joint DoJ/DNI National Insider Threat Task Force even had the unmitigated gall to assert that I was also a self-radicalized insider threat to national security. This same task force even placed me on a rogues' gallery of those who would do the U.S. harm -- hanging me up alongside the company of real historical spies.

My exposing State crimes, violations of law and coverup committed at the highest levels of government behind the walls and veils of secrecy was turned into Crimes against the State.

And yet the difference between me and Trump? Trump is now a former president and he took government documents that he was not authorized to retain at his private residence once he left office. Ironically the records of his presidency are much more restrictive (even when unclassified) with respect to DoJ protection and storage and especially under the Presidential Records Act.

I only went free in large part due to the judge presiding in my case recognizing that I had rights as a defendant and that nothing actually classified was involved in the end. Although the government made multiple concerted efforts and attempts to retroactively classify the unclassified documents I was authorized to retain, they also argued that what I "took" had the same protections as if they were classified, and even argued that what I took was "born" classified!

Plus, I also went free due to the publicity of the abuse and misuse by the government in the critical court of public opinion and then a media campaign led by Jesselyn Radack, where the mainstream press finally acknowledged I was a whistleblower after receiving the Ridenhour Prize for Truth Telling, and after publication of a lead article in the New Yorker magazine written by investigative journalist Jane Mayer and then a prime-time 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley.

I also went free based on the fact that no national defense information or classified information was disclosed or exposed or leaked in the end by me as ruled by the judge, after the government could not prove their Espionage Act case against me and it collapsed under the weight of the truth.

And so, in the end on the very eve of my scheduled trial and on my terms, the government dropped all 10 original felony counts in exchange for my plea agreement not involving classified under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for exceeding authorized use of a government computer -- with no prison time, 1 year probation and 240 hours of community service when I interviewed some 3.5 dozen veterans from WWII to Iraq/Afghanistan for the Veterans History Project with the Library of Congress.

However, Trump turned the presidency into an executive viper's nest of private interest, extreme corruption and daily grift, plus selling out and eroding large chunks of the governance soul of the nation to satisfy his ego and his inspired confederates and then taking all those boxes of highly sensitive and highly classified documents to his Florida beach house and calling it his property -- and continues to assert that he is the victim.

A rarely mentioned factor that weighs quite heavily in favor of prosecuting Trump is that he committed the key probable-cause crimes at issue while occupying positions of trust as both president and now as a former president and has clearly abused that public trust.

Trump purloining all these documents for personal gain has ironically brought the draconian Espionage Act into everyday discussion. This irony is not lost on me. This same Espionage Act is rarely used to go after real spies and yet in the modern era since the Obama Administration it is used to suppress dissent and disclosures of information to the press and "unauthorized" information that the government wants to keep away and hide from the public interest.

Trump's credibility is in serious question as legal realities compel Trump to put up evidence or continue his sham delay filings in the courts. His deny, distract, dismiss "dance" music is way out of tune as he faces a criminal investigation for treating government documents that do not belong to him as his own and as personal property; their retention is in probable-cause violation of the Espionage Act, Presidential Records Act and Federal Records Act.

Trump is engaged in brazen lawfare to bypass criminal exposure and privilege his possession of unprotected and unauthorized classified national defense information as well as government owned and controlled documents -- by weaponizing the civil lawsuit process as a preemptive proxy defendant to obstruct, delay and suborn the national security criminal investigation against him and any possible indictment.

However, one cannot truly analyze Trump's legal filings to date based on actual law and instead must analyze them based on raw abuse and misuse of power. In other words, Trump and his sycophants are sabotaging democracy while hacking formal judicial process and procedure, for the purpose of creating extra-judicial chaos.

All of this makes a mockery and utter travesty of justice while Trump also threatens violence (read extreme obstruction) if he were indicted, as democratic norms are a direct existential threat and injustice to his standing outside the law while remaining untouchable by any measure of justice.

Beyond and behind all the smokescreens spewed out by Trump, he chose to covet, collect, keep and conceal a massive amount of classified, national defense information related government documents and is not the owner as a private citizen or as former president.

And if there was any last shred of remaining doubt that Trump is guilty of the very statutes the government used to bludgeon me, just listen to his "confession" via victim projection during his October 9 rally in Mesa, Arizona, played during *this segment* [ [link removed] ] on a recent "The Last Word" show hosted by Lawrence O'Donnell.

Trump is literally making a mockery of the Justice Department while taunting it at the same time.

When is his final accounting? Will a different interpretation of the law and statutes criminally apply to Trump, even if he was utterly unfaithful to the oath he took and in light of the damage he has already caused the United States, rule of law and to civil and civic society?

In other words, will we continue to let him and his psychopathic narcissistic ego continue to hang on and hold the U.S. body politic hostage? No one is above the law.

I appreciate your continuing support and donations to the RootsAction Education Fund that help me bring to light critical issues involving secrecy, national security, government operations and threats to democracy as a whistleblower who paid an incredibly high price for speaking truth to power. Know that I am still burdened by debt and reestablishing a new life for the rest of my life defending our precious and inalienable rights -- that include our lives, our liberties and the pursuit of happiness for improving life and society. There is a lot at stake. What future do we want to keep together?


" PS from the RootsAction Education Fund team:"

Truth-telling can be *inspirational*. Another NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has said: "If there hadn't been a Thomas Drake, there couldn't have been an Edward Snowden."

In autumn 2022, Tom Drake remains deeply in financial debt. At the same time -- morally, politically and ethically -- we are in his debt. We owe him so much because he stood up for civil liberties and human decency.

Let's continue to *help repay that debt* [ [link removed] ] to Tom Drake, who exposed extreme mass surveillance by the NSA.

Living in what is supposed to be a democracy, we get vital information because of the courage of whistleblowers.

Tom Drake has no intention of going silent. He wants to keep writing, traveling and speaking out. But he needs our help.

*You're invited to make a tax-deductible contribution in support of his work.* [ [link removed] ]

Thank you!

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Please share on *Facebook* [ [link removed] ] and *Twitter* [ [link removed] ].


>> Jane Mayer, "The New Yorker: "Thomas Drake -- "The Secret Sharer" [ [link removed] ]
>> "Daily Beast: ""U.S. Intelligence Shuts Down Damning Report on Whistleblower Retaliation" [ [link removed] ]
>> Thomas Drake and other whistleblowers at Cato Institute forum: "The NSA & the Road to 9/11: Lessons Learned & Unlearned" [ [link removed] ]
>> "The Constitution and Conscience: NSA's Thomas Drake": Video of speech [ [link removed] ]
>> Jesselyn Radack, "The New York Times:" "Whistleblowers Deserve Protection Not Prison" [ [link removed] ]


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