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Justice case against alleged leaker collapses
MSNBC ^ | 9 June 2011 | Michael Isikoff

Posted on 06/09/2011 9:01:52 PM PDT by Racehorse

In a major blow to the Justice Department, one of its biggest leak prosecutions in years all but collapsed late Thursday when federal prosecutors withdrew all their felony charges against a former National Security Agency official accused of providing classified information to a journalist.

Instead, under a plea deal reached with prosecutors, former NSA official Thomas Drake has agreed to plead guilty in federal court on Friday to a single misdemeanor count of "exceeding authorized use of a computer" -- a minor charge for which he will receive no jail time, a senior administration official told NBC.

“This is close to being a total fiasco,” said Steve Aftergood, a national security specialist with the Federation of American Scientists who writes the widely read Secrecy News blog and has closely followed the case. “It’s a massive face-saving retreat by the government.”

SNIP

“These are tough cases to bring,” said a senior department official about the Justice Department’s withdrawal of felony charges against Drake. The official said Justice will decline all comment until the agreement is presented to a federal judge in Maryland on Friday.

But two sources familiar with the matter said that prosecutors felt hamstrung by a number of judicial rulings in the case, including one that would have required them to declassify — and make public — some of the secret information about NSA computer programs that Drake was accused of leaking. The NSA refused to permit that, forcing Justice officials to seek a negotiated plea deal with Drake and his lawyers, one source who has been briefed on the case told NBC.

(Excerpt) Read more at today.msnbc.msn.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aftergood; courts; crookedleakers; doj; drake; ellsberg; gorelickwall; holder; isikoff; law; leaker; leakers; leaks; media; michaelisikoff; nsa; spies; steveaftergood; thinthread; thomasdrake; trailblazer; vips
National security interests sometimes morphs into a shield (law) for those leaking sensitive information to journalists.
1 posted on 06/09/2011 9:01:59 PM PDT by Racehorse
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To: Racehorse

Yeah, but I suspect his career at NSA is over.

What’ll ya bet we’ll be hearing about the machinations — and ramifications — of this case for years.


2 posted on 06/09/2011 9:05:04 PM PDT by Steely Tom (Obama goes on long after the thrill of Obama is gone)
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To: Racehorse

Drake exposed widespread corruption, bid rigging and outright theft of tens of billions of US taxpayers’ dollars and assets by US and allies intel community senior members,
his prosecution was retribution, his plea for whistleblower protection is legitimate, and his enemies are abusing the US Judicial System to maintain their absolute control over DoD and NSA contract bid rigging,

this is the biggest whistleblower case in US history and it received NO media attention, and barely any mention even on the internet and FR.

Some day a book will be written, and it’ll be the most amazing spy thriller ever put to paper.


3 posted on 06/09/2011 9:08:23 PM PDT by JerseyHighlander
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To: Racehorse

You might want to do some research into what triggered this episode. The NSA management crowd tossed away $1.5 billion of our tax revenue...on a failed program. There was already a similar program developed (in-house)...ready to go and the folks in charge preferred to hire outsiders...contractors, and poured our money into failure. The agency IG would not listen to NSA staff members, and it ended up in newspapers.


4 posted on 06/09/2011 9:12:27 PM PDT by pepsionice
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To: Racehorse

Whistleblower bump for later......


5 posted on 06/09/2011 9:13:14 PM PDT by indthkr
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To: Racehorse

This should have been a major major story, I never quite got why the media didn’t go all out on this (especially since it happened during the Bush administration, and could have been used to attack Bush).....


6 posted on 06/09/2011 10:11:37 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: JerseyHighlander; All

Oh another case for citizens to investigate on their own.

Sigh.

Can we just slice up the NSA and sell off to private U.S. tech companies the chunks that are not sensitive info and maybe fold the sensitive stuff into the Air Force or something. Shove NASA in there too, stripping out all the climate junk.

This waste of a billion is a perfect excuse.

And I’m all for national security (I’m a raving lunatic on national security). But something has to be done because our purchasing/sourcing is sometimes running amok.

We need a President that’s an executive that can really intelligently reorg by exec order and bully Congress into going along.

I mean, military-related research is the only thing that’s really important to keep under wraps. What else ? I mean anything that everyone doesn’t know already.


7 posted on 06/10/2011 1:10:48 AM PDT by PieterCasparzen (Conservative Christian Capitalists - I encourage you to visit my Profile)
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To: Racehorse

Doesn’t the NSA have contingency plans to - - extra-legally - - get rid of traitorous scum like Drake?
If they don’t they should.


8 posted on 06/10/2011 1:19:06 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Racehorse

Good deal! Now, in the old days of the former Republic, we would have expected to hear of his tragic death in a canoe accident. We can only hope...


9 posted on 06/10/2011 1:24:56 AM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
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To: Lancey Howard

You propose the government should be entrusted with the power to assassinate American citizens without due process of law? Nice.


10 posted on 06/10/2011 2:52:50 PM PDT by ivyleaguebrat
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To: ivyleaguebrat

Are you familiar with CIA wet-works?


11 posted on 06/10/2011 2:55:09 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Some, believing they can't be deceived, it's nigh impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: MHGinTN

I know what the term means, and I’ve seen the Bourne movies (lol). Other than that, I’m not “familiar” with it at all. If they’re doing their jobs, neither are you.

To the extent that the CIA is engaged in assassinating people, I really doubt it’s ever been used against Americans with approval from the President and congress.


12 posted on 06/12/2011 9:01:47 AM PDT by ivyleaguebrat
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