Josh Gerstein, at Politico, reported today that the Department of Justice has dropped its criminal investigation of Thomas Tamm, the former DOJ lawyer who disclosed to the New York Times the existence of a top-secret warrantless wiretapping program during the Bush administration.
The decision not to prosecute former Justice Department lawyer Thomas Tamm means it is unlikely that anyone will ever be charged for the disclosures that led to the Times’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story in December 2005 revealing that, after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush ordered the interception of certain phone calls and email messages into and out of the U.S. without a warrant — a move many lawyers contend violated the 1978 law governing intelligence-related wiretaps (Gerstein).
That appears to be good news for National Security Agency whistleblower Russell Tice . As for why the investigation was dropped, theories abound. Probably, it was not motivated by an epiphany about whistleblowing because there is no evidence that the administration has softened its stance toward Thomas Drake or Bradley Manning. The explanation may be, quite simply, that DOJ feared a jury could exonerate Tamm for listening to his conscience. That could put a crimp in administration efforts to silence the whistleblower du jour, Wikileaks.
Photo of Department of Justice building (cc) by Drama Queen at Flickr.