NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Agrees To Plea Bargain Deal
from the totally-understandable dept
In our earlier post about the case against Thomas Drake, I sort of suspected he would eventually take the plea bargain deal, which is why I warned that people shouldn’t be upset if he did. And he’s now done exactly that, but the details seem reasonable. He rejected two separate plea bargain offers, even ones that likely would have meant no jailtime, if it meant agreeing to things he didn’t think were accurate. In the end, the agreement he took involves pleading guilty to unauthorized use of a computer, which could carry a one-year sentence, but prosecutors have agreed that they won’t oppose it if he seeks a non-jail sentence.
As I said in the earlier post, as much as it would have been nice to see him fight all the way to the end and totally clear his name, this seems perfectly reasonable. In this way, the key parts of the case — involving a really awful attempt by the federal government to abuse the Espionage Act to punish a clear whistleblower — gets totally dumped. And, when you’re faced with the potential of 35-years in prison, at some point reality sets in and it’s almost crazy not to take a plea bargain that gets you no jail time. Just the fact that he turned down the two earlier plea deals is pretty amazing. In the end, the only way to look at this is that Drake stood up to the government and won. The feds won’t get the precedent they wanted for using the Espionage Act against a whistleblower, and plenty of people learned about the ridiculous vindictive prosecution by the federal government.