Thomas Tamm and Thomas Drake have much in common. They both blew the whistle on massive malfeasance and illegality at the National Security Agency (NSA). They were both targets of a years-long investigation into the sources for the Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times article revealing George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping program. Tamm and Drake were both recipients of the Ridenhour Award for Truth-Telling. They even share a first name.
Yet, despite these commonalities, the differences between Tamm and Drake have never been more significant. Namely, Drake is still facing 35 years in prison for charges brought under the Espionage Act, while Tamm is no longer the target of criminal inquiry.
While Tamm has maintained, including on Democracy Now yesterday, that he never broke the law, Tamm has publicly admitted that he (bravely) served as a source of the New York Times.
In contrast, there is no evidence Drake was ever a source for the Times, and Drake never revealed a secret program. Despite that the indictment brought against Drake alleges extensive [First Amendment-protected] contact with a reporter, Drake never gave classified information to a reporter and, tellingly, is not charged with disclosing classified information to reporter.
In his interview yesterday, Tamm stressed that
the oath that I took was to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States against enemies foreign and domestic.
Drake expressed a similar admirable loyalty to the Constitution in accepting the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling:
Thomas Tamm also described yesterday how he lost his career for following his conscience in reporting NSA wrongdoing, a price no whistleblower should have to pay. Yet Drake may pay an even higher price, and could lose his very freedom at the hands of the Obama Justice Department. Drake's criminal trial is set for June 13, 2011.
To support him, "like" the Save Tom Drake Facebook page or sign the petition to stop the retaliatory prosecution.
Jesselyn Radack is Homeland Security & Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower advocacy organization. This post originally appeared in her Daily Kos column.