The Other NSA Whistleblowers Hope This Time Is Different
by Philip Bump
Edward Snowden was not the first high-profile person to reveal secrets about the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations after September 11th. He was the third. The first two — Thomas Drake and Mark Klein — have now come forward to express support for Snowden’s revelations. Part of their motivation, it seems safe to assume, is to ensure that this time, something actually changes.
Among the Snowden leaks was confirmation of what Klein described. One of the PRISM-related slides notes the “collection of communications on fiber cables … as data flows past.” That’s exactly what Room 641A — and, presumably, the equivalent rooms in other facilities — was built to do.
“I don’t expect this to happen, [but] Congress should give Edward Snowden retroactive immunity for standing and defending the Constitution. He’s done a service for the entire country. What’s revealed politically is that both parties are in on this.” – Mark Klein
Thomas Drake’s story and background are very different. Drake served in a high position with the NSA, eventually leaking non-classified details of the agency’s wasteful spending practices to a reporter from the Baltimore Sun. After pleading guilty to a computer-related charge, he spent a year on probation.
Snowden, Drake writes, has revealed only “the tip of the iceberg.” Warning that Snowden will pay a “high price,” for his actions, he nonetheless understands why it was taken. “I didn’t want to be part of the dark blanket that covers the world,” Drake writes, “and Edward Snowden didn’t either.”
- Snowden spying revelations vindicate ten years of NSA whistleblowing (vancouverobserver.com)
- Former NSA Whistleblower Sheds Light on the Science of Surveillance [Q&A] (scientificamerican.com)