With its case collapsing, the Department of Justice agreed on Thursday to drop ten criminal charges against NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake. In exchange, Drake agreed to plead guilty Friday to one misdemeanor count of “exceeding authorized use of a computer.” Sentencing is scheduled for July 15.
Columnist Glen Greenwald and others have criticized the Obama administration for unprecedented zeal in conducting criminal investigations of whistleblowers. Today, the New York Times offered fresh insight into the motivation behind the prosecutions.
Officials say they have been prompted by a bipartisan belief in Congress and in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations that leaks were getting out of hand.
One would suppose that Justice Department officials would act in accordance with the law and justice and not, like an insecure teenager, in response to peer pressure. This behavior–some might call it cowardly–is contrary to that of whistleblowers who have the moral courage to ignore peer pressure that threatens the public welfare.
Will President Obama eventually take the moral high ground and end his scorched-earth policy toward whistleblowers? Perhaps, if voters exert substantial pressure of their own, letting him know that they expect real transparency, not the campaign promise variety.