The Daily Show's Awesome Re-imagining Of How Whistleblower Thomas Drake Was A Spy

from the papers-blazing dept

We’ve written plenty about the ridiculous government case against whistleblower Thomas Drake, who exposed waste and fraud at the NSA, only to find himself charged under the Espionage Act as a spy, because he had kept a few documents on his computer that shouldn’t have been there. While the government case completely fell apart (and ended with Drake agreeing to a plea that basically admitted the government had no case), it’s nice to see that the vindictive nature of the feds using the Espionage Act against whistleblowers has been getting more mainstream attention.

The latest? The Daily Show, which did a hilarious interview with Drake, complete with Jason Jones’ attempt to turn his story into a spy thriller movie, only to be disappointed by the lack of anything remotely spy-like happening (and, yes, I know, non-US viewers can’t see this, blame Viacom):

Unfortunately, what the story does not cover, is that the feds have continued to go after whistleblowers under the Espionage Act. The Obama administration has now done that six times, including against the CIA agent who blew the whistle on waterboarding. Prior to this administration, the Espionage Act had been used only three times. In other words, he’s doubled the use of the act of all previous Presidents. For a President who campaigned on civil liberties issues, and whose first day in the office included a memo in support of whistleblowing, this is beyond depressing. It’s good to see more mainstream press coverage, but they need to know it didn’t end with Thomas Drake.

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Comments on “The Daily Show's Awesome Re-imagining Of How Whistleblower Thomas Drake Was A Spy”

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55 Comments
jakerome (profile) says:

Not a nickel

President Obama will get my vote. But he won’t get a nickel from me this year, unlike 2008 when I poured in a fair bit. And it’s because of this– lack of transparency, continued obsession with secrecy, SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, TPP. Etc. I think there were about 3 times when I said to myself, “now THAT’S the guy I voted for!”

Wouldn’t surprise me to see 4 years pass without it happening again.

Jose_X (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Not a nickel

I heard that none of the above would order the FBI, CIA, and various other investigative units to stop. NOTA would ask the career professionals in these agencies (and people not too far removed form the security of the President him/herself) to drop their investigations into individuals who are spilling the dirty laundry and then some (and who doesn’t have dirty laundry?) of these agencies who for the past decade have gone through a significant shake because of the two high and symbolic towers that were destroyed in “a” heart of this nation while hitting the pentagon and what else? Further NOTA would do this even if the majority of Americans do not want to encourage insiders from exposing US government strategic information to potential enemies abroad and anyone with Internet access.

Let’s ask, how could Obama have been faced with so much mutiny from its investigative units? Well, the last 10 years has something to do with it, I think. These investigations were largely not fresh and what the US has gone through is a main part of the reason all of this mutiny has been taking place. There was internal backlash to difficult situations in these agencies dealing with feared enemies (you didn’t just almost have your house destroyed by an attacker flying a bomb with your name on it, but pretend for a moment). Many Americans even support the torture to some degree and certainly want an ordered mechanism for dealing with deviants and do not support a politician pushing around these people whose careers have been to protect the nation. Sure, this idealism is not shared by everyone, but I think there would be significant pushback to interference with ongoing investigations and decisions by these people inside our security network trying to defend their protocols and decisions of the past decade.

After public uproar of some degree, Manning was moved to a reasonable holding environment from his harsh cell. The case against Drake was weakened when Obama took over and the rest fell apart, as it should have and probably would have regardless. That is easier to do, of course, to lose a case in a public forum, than it is to be bold like NOTA and rebuke the decision-process in these agencies and order indictments to disappear. DOA really was probably unavoidable, yes.

NOTA would make a tremendously bold President if perhaps not representative of the majority of the people in avoiding prosecution in a quasi-public forum while rebuking behind the scenes key US security agencies (and heavens knows opening the door to how many more whistleblowers about this suppression being committed by a mere politician). Unfortunately, NOTA has been confirmed to be too old for the office and cannot be elected.

jakerome (profile) says:

Re: Re: Not a nickel

Because I agree with Obama on about 80% of the key issues, such as tax policy, health care reform. He doesn’t seem inclined to start new wars and has actually wound down one war (even if he wound one up at the same time). Because amongst all the candidates on the ballot, I believe he will be the best president. Because I’m not a one issue voter.

I won’t begrudge anyone for voting Garry Johnson, but nor will I humor their smugness & pride as they congratulate themselves for bucking the 2 party system while putting down citizens that support major party candidates.

The system needs to be blown up, but it’s more effectively done on the state & perhaps congressional level. Were there a middle-of-the-road candidate that put forth a great campaign and advocated for sensible reforms that matched my own instincts, I may well vote for that person. As would millions of others. Alas, that White Knight has been around the corner for a few hundred years, and will be for a few hundred more.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Not a nickel

Does it matter that he won’t get any money from you? It’s your vote he wants. The money he gets is to garner votes, so all you’ve done is tell him he can save the money he gets from others, because he’s already got your vote. You’ve just said he’s got you wrapped around his finger, only this time you won’t pay him for the privilege.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Obama administration has now done that six times… he’s doubled the use of the act of all previous Presidents. For a President who campaigned on civil liberties issues, and whose first day in the office included a memo in support of whistleblowing, this is beyond depressing.

Is it right to be worried ?

Brian Penny (user link) says:

Whistleblowing Perspectives from a Whistleblower

Being a whistleblower is one of the most difficult paths you can walk in life. Banks have been systematically robbing homeowners via false placement of illegally and artificially inflated Force-Placed Insurance premiums since 1994. These premiums have been proven to create a negative escrow, which leads to doubled mortgage payments, blocked property tax payments, and denied loan modifications, amongst other heinous crimes.

Read chapter 2 of my firsthand account as a bank whistleblower exposing the largest bank fraud in history here: http://thoughtforyourpenny.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-boy-who-cried-force-placed.html.

Anonymous Coward says:

how dare all of you!! he is the best president we have had! all of you are just haters and racists. he stands up for our rights and gets us the money the lower class deserves. The rich have enough. Obama will win again and make the streets safe by taking guns out of rednecks hands. He will see that we all have good affordable health insurance. He will raise the taxes on the rich so the rest of us dont have to live under there shoes. all of you just need to wake up and see what he is doing for you instead of voting for people with no chance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

your exactly the kind of people we dont need in this country. obama will move us forward to new greatness. if you want to keep to your stupid ideas and thoughts then go ahead but rest of the country will move on to love and peace. I cant wait till obama sicks my boy holder to gets a hold of that zimmerman… Obama will make this a better country. you’ll see and come around to the light next year

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

your exactly the kind of people we dont need in this country.

I love this statement. I’ve done some trolling in my day, but using the standard “If you don’t like it, get out” that the hardcore far right use in order to promote a leftist….genius! Buddy, where can I sign up to take your classes?

Pjerky (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Um, delusions of grandeur much? Listen, Obama has a lot of well meaning, good, useful ideas. He is just too much of a coward to actually enact them and push them through a pigheaded congress.

And when he is not having good ideas he is doing crap like all the other politicians (and what is mentioned in the article above).

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