April 16, 2010

Ex-NSA Agent Charged With Leaking Confidential Information

A former senior official with the National Security Agency (NSA) who allegedly leaked government secrets to a newspaper reporter has been indicted on multiple charges.

The Justice Department announced on Thursday that they would be filing charges against 52-year-old Thomas A. Drake, who they say provided classified information to the media through e-mail messages in 2006 and 2007 and obstructed justice by shredding documents, deleting computer files, and lying to investigators who were attempting to uncover the unnamed reporter's sources.

"This defendant used a secret, non-government email account to transmit classified and unclassified information that he was not authorized to possess or disclose," assistant attorney general Lanny Breuer said in a media statement.

"He also later shredded documents and lied about his conduct to federal agents in order to obstruct their investigation," he added. "Our national security demands that the sort of conduct alleged here--violating the government's trust by illegally retaining and disclosing classified information--be prosecuted and prosecuted vigorously."

Drake, who worked with the NSA from 2001 through 2008, has been charged with 10 counts, including retention of classified information, obstruction of justice and making false statements. Each of the charges carries with it a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The indictment does not mention the reporter or the newspaper with whom Drake corresponded, though according to Scott Shane of the New York Times, "the description fits articles written by Siobhan Gorman, then a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, that examined in detail the failings of several major NSA modernization programs and problems with supplying its huge electric power demands. Some of her articles were honored with a top prize from the Society for Professional Journalists."


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