Letter from America: As one whistleblower is spared, investigation intensifies around another

National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake was supposed to stand trial this week in the United States in an Espionage Act case that seemed to say even more about the Obama Administration than its handling of WikiLeaks has. Drake had watched the agency sideline an intelligence-gathering computer program called ThinThread that insiders believe could have prevented 11 September. And he had early concerns about the legality of what became the NSA’s infamous domestic warrantless wiretapping programme (exposed by the New York Times in 2005), which looked an awful lot like ThinThread with all of its privacy protections deleted. (more…)

Espionage charges dropped against former NSA official

Former U.S. National Security Agency employee, Thomas Drake, agreed to a plea bargain that will reduce his charges from a felony under the Espionage Act to a misdemeanor for misusing the agency’s computer system. In this new scheme, prosecutors promised not to seek jail time. Drake originally faced a 35-year prison sentence for providing official documents to a reporter for The Baltimore Sun.