source: New York Times
Obama Administration Takes an Even Harder Line Against Leaks to Press
by Scott Shane
WASHINGTON — Hired in 2001 by the National Security Agency to help it catch up with the e-mail and cellphone revolution, Thomas A. Drake became convinced that the government’s eavesdroppers were squandering hundreds of millions of dollars on failed programs while ignoring a promising alternative.
He took his concerns everywhere inside the secret world: to his bosses, to the agency’s inspector general, to the Defense Department’s inspector general and to the Congressional intelligence committees. But he felt his message was not getting through.
So he contacted a reporter for The Baltimore Sun.
Today, because of that decision, Mr. Drake, 53, a veteran intelligence bureaucrat who collected early computers, faces years in prison on 10 felony charges involving the mishandling of classified information and obstruction of justice.
The indictment of Mr. Drake was the latest evidence that the Obama administration is proving more aggressive than the Bush administration in seeking to punish unauthorized leaks.
In 17 months in office, President Obama has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leak prosecutions. His administration has taken actions that might have provoked sharp political criticism for his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was often in public fights with the press.
Mr. Drake was charged in April; in May, an F.B.I. translator was sentenced to 20 months in prison for providing classified documents to a blogger; this week, the Pentagon confirmed the arrest of a 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst suspected of passing a classified video of an American military helicopter shooting Baghdad civilians to the Web site Wikileaks.org.