Thomas Drake Gets Probation, Community Service; Judge Slams Feds For Prosecution

from the threat-to-our-country? dept

The fed’s ridiculously vindictive legal attack on Thomas Drake for whistleblowing is now basically over. Late Friday, a judge sentenced Drake to 1-year probation and 240 hours of community service. As you may recall, the fed’s case against Drake completely fell apart, just as the trial was to get underway, in part due to a lot of press coverage of just how ridiculous the lawsuit was. It was never, as the government implied, about leaking classified information. It was always a vindictive attack on Drake for pointing out massive amounts of waste at the NSA.

In the plea deal that Drake agreed to, prosecutors agreed not to ask for jail time, even though he could have received up to a year in jail (significantly lower than the 3 or so decades he was facing under the original charges). The prosecutors did ask for a $50,000 fine though. And they didn’t get it. In fact, the judge scolded prosecutors for the whole case:

Judge Bennett said the government’s decision to back away from its case on the eve of trial was “extraordinary,” and added that he was particularly troubled by the 2 and ? year time lapse from when federal agents first searched Mr. Drake’s home to when he was charged. “It was not proper. It doesn’t pass the smell test,” the judge said.

Of course, it didn’t pass the smell test because the whole thing smelled rotten. Thankfully, it ended on a somewhat positive note, though it’s still ridiculous that Drake received any punishment at all.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Thomas Drake Gets Probation, Community Service; Judge Slams Feds For Prosecution”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Plea bargains

As one lawyer said to me a few years back, when you involve as many people in our legal system as we do in the States, plea bargains are essential. They shorten the amount of time one spends in court (if any time is spent before settling at all), they streamline the sentencing process, and the clear out some of the backlog of cases.

In short, the American justice (snicker) system can only run if one of the following is true:

– A relatively small number of people ever enter that system

– You have plea bargains to speed everything up

If you disallowed plea bargains and/or settlements, our legal system would come to a grinding halt, which is disgusting….

AJ says:

Re: Plea bargains


I guess if your guilty, plea bargains can save the people quite a bit of time and money to try your case. So it’s worth it to the people/government to give you a break to get that savings..

But if your innocent, its seems that it would be a lot like the extortion letters you get from companies like Righthaven. You may be innocent, but it would be less damaging financially and/or not worth the risk to play it out in the courts. Do you want to risk 30 years in jail, or do you want community service? Doesn’t really seem fair, and it seems to get abused all the time, but it’s what we have i guess….

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Plea bargains

But if your innocent, its seems that it would be a lot like the extortion letters you get from companies like Righthaven. You may be innocent, but it would be less damaging financially and/or not worth the risk to play it out in the courts. Do you want to risk 30 years in jail, or do you want community service? Doesn’t really seem fair, and it seems to get abused all the time, but it’s what we have i guess….

Exactly. I know a woman (my friend’s niece) who is a registered sex offender for having sex with a minor. The only problem is that the teenager forced himself on her while she was drunk and then apparently bragged to his friends that he’d screwed her. When his parents found out, he said that she seduced him and the parents had her arrested. She took a plea bargain for a year in prison rather than risk losing a jury trial.

She’s a very sweet, subdued woman whose only real fault is that she drinks too much, and now she’s know as a child molester because a teenager raped her, lied about it and a plea bargain was the best chance she had of not spending a decade or more in prison.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Plea bargains

“what was she doing drinking with a bunch of teenagers”

For all the post states, she may not have been.

“not saying she deserved what she got, but at the same time, if you play with fire, chances are high that at some point you are going to get burned.”

What you seem to be saying is that if someone gets drunk then they should expect to be raped.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Plea bargains

that’s a horrible story. by the way, what was she doing drinking with a bunch of teenagers.

She wasn’t. It was her neighbor’s son. As I recall they were friends, she was drinking outside at night, he came over, they talked for a while, she went in the house for something, he followed her in and raped her. She’s not a confrontational type person, so she didn’t report it. Once the charges were filed, it was his word against hers and most people will automatically believe a minor over an adult where sex is involved.

NullOp says:


I hope no one is surprised by this. All governments are vindictive! ALL government agencies are wasteful! It’s a game they play. Every agency wants more money every year to do their “important” work. Now, for sure, the NSA is important. But there are more government agencies than you can imagine. And if you missed it, a butt-load of your tax dollars just got flushed by our government in creating and prosecuting this case. The only solution is to vote ALL sitting politician out of office and, essentially, starting over. Vote Obama out first!

PoluN says:

Re: Feds


Funny, your George Bush did this, that lazy prick put this Country back into the dark ages.

And you have the gaul to blame Obama, No, the problem is you right winged idiots that have used laws like this for your own personal vendetta towards society, it dosnt work anymore.

What a idiot you are, just like Bush, a retard with no mentality, you csn only point fingers and not take responsibility, and your so called solutions are extreme and hurt the country and it’s people.

A Monkey with Attitude (profile) says:

Re: Re: Feds

so why is you if we don’t agree with No-bama..a person has to like G.Bush? Seriously if that is all you have to offer you already lost…
And why is it those who support him start off with name calling and labeling… is everything a label? Do you have to have a label?

IMO this is the first half that is wrong with the country.. your more married to a D or R than an idea of freedom, you sacrifice for a letter that means nothing if the people wearing it do not hold to the values of it.

Bush and Obama are pretty much the same brand of socialistic / totalitarian tripe… They just change the letter by their name…

I can’t wait for the day that the rest of the 51% of DI’s (Damn Independents) give both parties a finger and start working on solutions….

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Feds

That’s coming very soon. It’s amazing but even Fox news has picked up the story how much steam the Libertarian party is getting. IIRC, the fact remains that voting problems continue to plague the political process. Take down one peg in the problems of progress, and you can have a more fair society. It’s just focusing on the root of the problems in my view.

SJS says:

Re: Feds

No, governments aren’t vindictive.

People are vindictive. Governments have power (by necessity) that is abused by vindictive people; see also the law of unintended consequences.

Further, to claim that governments are wasteful is misleading. Governments come with a lot of overhead costs, yes. There will be a certain amount of waste, but there are also economies of scale, so for a government to be “wasteful”, the benefits of the economies of scale must fall significantly short of the overhead costs.

One must beware calls for immediate major change, in politics as well as in code — does anyone really think that a voting public that is so easily led by mere money and so stupid so as to keep electing the same corrupt officials back into office will suddenly choose to elect honest men and women of integrity to office merely by voting out incumbents? Will the moneyed interests let the unfunded and untried run unopposed?


If you still think that after five minutes of sober reflection, it’s time to put down the crack pipe.

As for voting Obama out first — he’s not the one trying to tank the economy in a fit of pique. With an honest Congress, the president is pretty much irrelevant, and it’s pretty obvious that it’s Congress that’s disfunctional, as well as *what* part of Congress is simply crazy.

But if you give me a candidate who will prosecute, convict, and hang the officially-sanctioned torturers and their bosses, I’ll happily vote for them. Because if we’re going to be vindictive, we should start with our own monsters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Whistleblowers and Retaliators

Lets see now, Thomas Drake blew the whistle on waste and corruption of over a billion dollars. The bad guys never got punished. But they retaliated against Thomas Drake. He got punished, not as much as the bad guys would like, but some.

Score: bad guys = 1, Thomas Drake = 0. You Americans are so screwed. Your legal system has utterly failed to deliver justice, or anything like it. This is a massive green light for waste and corruption. Expect more.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...