Associated Press: Ex-NSA Worker Charged in Leaks Case Honored
Thomas Drake, the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who helped expose multi-billion dollar waste and fraud at the agency, was presented yesterday with the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling – an annual whistleblower award given by the Fertel Foundation and the Nation Institute. Other awardees include U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, health industry whistleblower Wendell Potter, and the documentary film Budrus.
Drake has been charged under the Espionage Act for mishandling classified information, and could face 35 years in prison. In his acceptance speech, he warned that the U.S. government is criminalizing the act of whistleblowing, and “elevating national security to a state religion.”
Click here for more information about the awards and Thomas Drake, and to find out how you can support him.
Key Quote: "My case is centered on a government prosecution bent not on serving justice, but on meting out retaliation, reprisal and retribution for the purpose of relentlessly punishing a whistleblower," he [Drake] said. "Furthermore, my case is one that sends a chilling message to would-be whistleblowers: Not only can you lose your job, but also your very freedom."
Drake's "real crime" was complaining, said Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower advocacy group. He reported his concerns to bosses, Congress and the Department of Defense Inspector General, which vindicated his concerns, she said. "Tom Drake went through all the proper channels, but it made no difference," Radack said. "He is still facing 35 years in jail."
Related Articles: Huffington Post, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Orange County Register: Fired O.C. Air Marshal's Whistleblower Case Heats Up
Officials are being asked to consider new developments in the pending whistleblower case for GAP client Robert MacLean – the former Federal Air Marshal fired for blowing the whistle on TSA plans to abandon Air Marshal coverage on high-risk flights during a confirmed terrorist hijacking alert. MacLean has been fighting unsuccessfully to regain his job since 2006.
Now, MacLean is receiving high-level support from two congressional offices – those of House Oversight and Government Reform senior members Dennis Kucinich (D.-Ohio) and Carolyn Maloney (D.-NY) – who filed a friend of the court brief this week with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (where MacLean’s appeal is pending). In conjunction with the brief, MacLean also submitted new evidence that raises questions about the credibility of the TSA’s only witness against him.
Click here to read more about MacLean’s case on GAP’s blog.
ProPublica: ‘Spillionaires’- Profiteering and Mismanagement in the Wake of the BP Oil Spill
This piece explores the ways in which different Gulf companies with key government and Parish connections have profited economically from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, while many workers and others greatly affected by the spill have received unjust compensation.
The New York Times: States Look to Ban Efforts to Reveal Farm Abuse
Legislation in Iowa that would prohibit the production of undercover video taken at agricultural operations has stalled, after the state Attorney General office raised concerns about infringements on free speech. Supporters have been working on compromised language for an amended bill expected to be released soon, while amendments to weaken or block the bill have also been introduced.
San Francisco Chronicle: Sutter Health Accused of Fraud by State
The state of California will join a whistleblower lawsuit against Sutter Health – one of California’s biggest health care providers – alleging that the company committed insurance fraud by overcharging for anesthesia services that were not actually provided.
Banker & Tradesman: Dodd-Frank Weighs Heavily On Mass. Whistleblower Case
Thanks to stronger whistleblower protections passed within the Dodd-Frank Act, a U.S. District Court in Massachusetts has ruled that a whistleblower suit can go on to federal court rather than to arbitration – a "quiet legal venue that keeps the
case out of the public spotlight and generally favors companies over employees."
Lindsay Bigda is Communications Fellow for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower advocacy organization.