Mr. Drake Goes To Washington
by Andrew Kreig
Former National Security Agency executive Thomas Drake warned the public March 15 at the National Press Club against the federal government’s crackdown on whistleblowers.
Drake, who escaped a potential term of life in prison for communicating with a Baltimore Sun reporter, said the government has the ability to make such conduct illegal retroactively. Regarding the larger issues, he asked, “How else will the press report the real news when their sources dry up and the government becomes a primary purveyor of its own news?”
Drake’s revelations and passion resembled James Stewart’s iconic performance in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington protesting corruption, including during a Senate filibuster. Yet Drake, at left in a Noel St. John photo from the club speech, focused on dangers far more important than the 1939 film’s portrayal of corruption in Congress.
Drake describes pervasive surveillance on Americans by spy agencies as well as an alleged billion dollars in wasteful spending to well-connected contractors. He says the wasteful overpayment exists even if one accepts the premise that the government must secretly undertake such surveillance – regarded as illegal in the United States until secretly authorized in recent years.