Thomas Drake to Government: “Bring It”

Apparently, the government is scrambling in the Thomas Drake case.

According to Ellen Nakashima, they offered him two plea bargains yesterday, both involving no jail time. He rejected both.

Drake has repeatedly told friends that he will never “plea bargain with the truth.”

Drake turned down a deal to plead guilty to unauthorized retention of classified documents. It was a deal similar to the one accepted in 2005 plea by former national security adviser Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger after he removed and shredded classified material relating to the Clinton administration’s record on terrorism from the National Archives.

“Why should you plead to something you didn’t do?” said Bill Binney, a friend and former colleague who, with Drake, tried to raise concerns about what they saw NSA corruption and constitutional violations. “That’s the whole point. People of character don’t do that.”

Let me just take this moment to remind everyone what a train wreck William Welch–the prosecutor who screwed up the Ted Stevens prosecution, among others–has been for DOJ. On the eve of prosecution, the evidence he has to prove someone illegally kept classified information are three documents thrown in the trash can, two other documents that are currently unclassified, and a bunch of people in government speaking openly about the information that appeared in the three trashed documents.

I guess it wasn’t such a good idea to put such a relentless, but incompetent, prosecutor in charge of your leak cases, huh Holder?

  1. donbacon says:

    There must be anecdotal data somewhere on the (I believe) large number of people that bring classified information home. No big deal. Forgetfully leaving it on the table at McDonald’s — that’s big.

    Also of importance is adjudging classified documents against the requirements for the various classifications – confidential, secret, top secret etc. — which would be evidence of wrongful classification. Documents are often classified because they might embarrass the organization and not because they meet the established classification definitions.

    In other words address the real-world system and not some jacked-up ideas about national security being compromised.

  2. fatster says:

    Inside the DHS: Former Top Analyst Says Agency Bowed to Political Pressure

    “While at DHS, Johnson and his team wrote the April 7, 2009 report, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” The report, which was intended for law enforcement only, was quickly leaked and caused a firestorm among some on the political right who accused DHS of painting all kinds of conservatives as potential Timothy McVeighs. . . . But DHS ultimately reacted to criticism from conservative columnists and groups like the American Legion by withdrawing the report.”


    Interesting that they bow to pressure from right-wing groups to suppress an important report, but no matter how much pressure is applied, we just can’t seem to get our 4th Amendment back whole and intact.

  3. ThingsComeUndone says:

    I guess it wasn’t such a good idea to put such a relentless, but incompetent, prosecutor in charge of your leak cases, huh Holder?

    Has Holder done anything that would imply he is competent? :)

    • emptywheel says:

      He has fixed the Civil Rights group.

      And depending on who you believe he is working for, he has ensured the MOTUs face no consequences for their actions.

    • perris says:

      he can’t be primaried, especially since he just caught bin laden, our only hope is that the gop runs a competent contender

      which is not likely since there is no way a republican elected as a republican could get away with as a republican elected as a democrat

      • papau says:

        I believe he can be primaried – the Osama bounce is already gone in the polls

        but he will not be primaried because some would view that as racist, just as they viewed Bill Clinton comment about the Obama staff’s appeals to group (read black) loyalty in the 2008 S.C. primary as racist. Besides the only name that could stop him in a primary is Hillary, and much of FDL and the base is more interested in dumping on her based on lies Obama sold in 2008 than they are on stopping Obama’s sell out.

        The only GOPer running that might be of interest to the Democratic Party Base is Huntsman – but we will be scared off by the screams of “look at the alternative”

        Oddly enough, Romney actually could get the nomination and beat Obama – talk about frying pan and fire.

        • lefty665 says:

          the only name that could stop him in a primary is Hillary

          My first primary involvement was with Eugene McCarthy’s candidacy. He was soft spoken, a poet who could put you to sleep if you were not listening closely to what he said. He did not win, but he brought LBJ down. He demonstrated that truth spoken quietly, with purpose and perseverance can successfully challenge leaders gone wrong.

          …dumping on her based on lies Obama sold in 2008

          I beg your pardon. I did not need Obama or anyone else, truthful or otherwise, to move me to work actively against Hillary’s nomination. The truth about her was all that was needed to form a well founded antipathy to her blue cur, DLC, Dick Morris toe sucking, compromising, capitulating, warmongering, Repub lite campaign.

          but he will not be primaried because some would view that as racist

          My first ’12 campaign mailing was a black and white photo of an earnest Obama. It was followed closely by Rep. Clyburn’s comments that Obama’s problems were because of the color of his skin. It now seems clear that in ’08 they had to sell “Change” to help voters embrace a non-white candidate. In ’12 it seems as clear as black and white that criticism is racist,

          I would argue that ’08 was the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream, and that we are now engaged in judging Obama’s fitness for a second term based on the content of his character.

          Primary like your life depended on it. If you doubt that, ask Tom Drake.

          • donbacon says:

            As I recall, Clean Gene McCarthy was (in effect) a stalking horse for Bobby Kennedy, who jumped in after McCarthy took LBJ in New Hampshire. So somebody, just anybody, a Drake even, needs to jump in just to show that it could be done and that eases the path for a genuine vote-getter.

            • lefty665 says:

              Yes to “(in effect) a stalking horse“. Johnson had them all intimidated. It seemed at the time that Bobby, and several others, were opportunists who jumped in once McCarthy demonstrated that LBJ was mortal.

              Like McCarthy in New Hampshire, Obama derailed the Clinton juggernaut that had been all but coronated. He broke out in Iowa on his opposition to the war du jour and Hillary’s vote to go to war without even reading the intelligence finding. It would seem Obama is vulnerable on war in ’12, and on jobs, and state secrets, and jobs, and trillions for Wall St, and jobs, and the bill of rights, and …did I mention jobs?

              I expect you are right, once someone with integrity stands up it gets easier for the rest of us. Not terribly flattering to all us “usses”.

              Drake made me think about McCarthy, honorable and willing to stand for principle when it is potentially personally very expensive.

              Tom Drake is a link to earlier generations at the Agency who would have quit before turning their tools inward, and who valued elegant solutions. I have a great deal of respect for him.

              • JTMinIA says:

                > “He [Obama] broke out in Iowa on his opposition to the war du jour and Hillary’s vote to go to war without even reading the intelligence finding.”

                From my experience – and I was a state-level delegate* – this was more than half of the story. The other half, however, was our belief – suckers than we corn-eaters (and ethanol-makers) are – that he was telling us the truth when he said that he’d return us to the rule of law, including such things as obeying the War Powers Resolution.

                Speaking for my whole state – i.e., stop reading now – I’d say that we’d be interested in seeing some alternatives. I, for one, would support almost any primary challenge, just to force him to the left during the primary season.

                * I was a state-level delegate for John Edwards, so you really shouldn’t be reading this post

              • beowulf says:

                “Drake made me think about McCarthy, honorable and willing to stand for principle when it is potentially personally very expensive.”

                Well if Eugene Debs can run for president from prison, running while on probation (if it came to that) shouldn’t be a problem. :o)

      • Asmodeus says:

        Obama didn’t ‘catch’ Bin Laden. He had him executed summarily, and without any effort at due process. It’s just one of the TOTALLY un-American things his administration has been up to.

        For instance, did you know that under the law, Obama could quite easily be considered an Accomplice After The Fact concerning War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, High Crimes and Misdemeanors, and whatever other shady s**t the Bush, and now Obama administrations have been up to? All because he was too chickens**t to uphold the rule of law, and investigate/prosecute the War Criminals among us. So he became one of them by shielding them.

        Obama can go straight to hell. Do not pass ‘Go’. Do not collect $200. Go directly to hell. I voted for him last time, but all the torture techniques available to him couldn’t get me to make that mistake again. F**k Obama, and the Party he rode in on.

  4. bigchin says:

    Holder is an idiot.

    Obama is a FRAUD.

    De-elect this terrible administration in 2012.

    The Democratic party is fucking pathetic.

  5. tambershall says:

    I can see why they put this incompetence against Stevens. They didn’t want to get him.
    But to put this incompetence against someone they actually want to get is just plain sad. Do these folks even know what they are doing?
    Of course they could just rendition him.

    • bmaz says:

      That is wrongful thinking by my estimation; they actually were so dogged in going after Stevens that it was malicious and led to eventual dismissal. But to say they were not trying to convict is wrong.

  6. bluewombat says:

    According to Ellen Nakashima, they offered him two plea bargains yesterday, both involving no jail time. He rejected both.

    Ah, a true mensch.

    • speakingupnow says:

      Exactly. How often do we even see examples of people with true integrity and honor? If only more people in government were like Thomas Drake…one thing would be certain, there wouldn’t be record numbers of cases going to court against “whistleblowers”.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If the DoJ were smart, and if Drake won’t plea bargain them into an unearned “success”, it should withdraw the case without prejudice and live to fight another day. That would be a stronger position than continuing to litigate a bad case with the present semi-competent crew.

    As Glennzilla points out, the DoJ’s thuggish behavior has already had the intended effect of making other whistleblowers think thrice before joining the disclosure fray, which seems to have been the principal objective of this suit from the beginning. But then, no one could accuse Obama’s DoJ of being any smarter or more competent than it was under Ashcroft, ‘Fredo or Mukasey.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, they already stooped to offer a freaking misdemeanor with no jail. They don’t have much else rope short of dismissal.

    • emptywheel says:

      See, I actually think that’s wrong. Bill Binney is on the record leaking most of the information the government was trying to punish Drake for not-leaking.

      At some point, they begin to incent on-the-record leaking, because they refuse to go after the really sensitive information.

      That was the lesson of Jane Mayer, IMO: Tamm and Tice weren’t prosecuted bc to do so they’d have to admit their own crimes. They tried to go after Drake bc they thought (mistakenly) they coudl do so w/o revealing worse info about themselves.

  8. DWBartoo says:

    Most excellent series of posts on Drake, EW.

    One wonders if Judge Bennett will consider any of Obama/Holder’s DOJ’s “tactics” to be less than reasonable, just, and proper … in this case, and whether, if the judge so finds, any of that “verdict” will be made public in timely fashion?

    If a judge in Canada can manage to see the “patterns, then, one hopes, that judges in the USA can locate, however remotely, some similar respect for the actual rule of law.

    However, now, hope is very, very cheap … and the price of influence is very, very steep …

    (Are “they” stupid, conniving, complicit, or brilliantly “pragmatic” in doing away with respect for the rule of law and the Constitution? Maybe “they” are all … just on the “make”, empty nothings caring for nothing but themselves and their own petty “advancement$” … our sociopathic “elite”?)


  9. mattcarmody says:

    Geez, here was an out for Barry staring him right in the face.

    Assign Welch to prosecute Bush, Cheney, Addington, Yoo, and the rest of the Bush Crime Family. If he’s as fucked up as he appears, the prosecutions would fail but Barry could still say, “Hey, we tried.”

    Win-win, except for the country but when has that mattered in the past 30 years?