A National Security Agency whistleblower, who said early during the George W. Bush administration that the agency was misspending millions of taxpayer dollars on the technically flawed system that sifted through emails and other digital communications, has been vindicated by a secret government report released this week. The report and this legal case support claims of “Targeted Individuals,” estimated to number 350,000 in the United States, who have been reporting related complaints about FBI extremist cells targeting them for years to no avail to date.
NSA official Thomas A. Drake, unsuccessfully tried by the government for Espionage Act violations, and others at NSA, prompted the highly classified study according to The Washington Post Friday. How did Drake achieve this? He made a call to the Pentagon inspector general’s fraud, waste and abuse hotline according to Project On Government Oversight (POGO) Director of Investigations Nick Schwellenbach who broke the news, saying the report is heavily redacted but vindicates Drake.
The study report dated December 15, 2004 had been kept secret from the public until Wednesday.
POGO is a nonpartisan independent watchdog championing good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government. POGO obtained a copy of the DoD IG report through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
“The National Security Agency is inefficiently using resources” and “may be developing a less capable long-term digital network exploitation solution that will take longer and cost significantly more to develop” according to the report.
Many of Drake’s allegations of waste and ineffectiveness in an intelligence program at the NSA were backed up in the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) report that POGO received this week. The report is dated December 15, 2004, and had not been previously been made public in any form until the 22nd.
People who filed the Inspector General complaint were raided by armed FBI agents, a phenomenon typical of police states that are becoming more commonplace in the United States. The “counterintelligence” raids are mainly aimed at innocent people, some of whom openly defend the Constitution. Noted Private Investigator William Taylor has stated that the targeting is mainly against America’s best people, many of whom have been secretly RFID chipped against their will or knowledge.
Targeted Individual Thomas Drake
Drake, slated for sentencing on July 15, “persistently described himself as a whistleblower who never leaked official secrets — was the target of an espionage prosecution from 2007 until last week, when the Justice Department dropped the most serious charges against him and accepted his plea of guilty to unauthorized use of a government computer used to communicate with a reporter.” (NYT)
NSA “disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs” and evidence exists that the agency “modified or suppressed” pertinent studies according to the report.
Knowing the horrendous consequence of whistle-blowing, it is no surprise that that some sources of criticism feared reprisal.
Cost and technical problems surfaced in two independent scientific reviews disclosed in the report finally forced the NSA to abandon its Trailblazer Program in 2006, after consuming over $1 billion according to The Times.
“This is just more evidence that the government never should have prosecuted Thomas Drake,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of Project on Government Oversight.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) prosecution was believed to develop from the DOJ’s investigation into disclosures of NSA warrantless wiretapping to The New York Times and came after Drake blew the whistle on widespread problems with an NSA program called TRAILBLAZER that was finally closed in 2006.
Most of the Espionage Act charges against Drake involved documents associated with his cooperation with this DoD IG audit according to POGO.
“We should be thankful that Mr. Drake had the courage to stand by his convictions and do what was best for the country.”