A “Daily Show” clip with correspondent Jason Jones aired last night on “super spy” Thomas Drake, who worked for the National Security Agency as an analyst until he was ultimately charged as “a spy” under the Espionage Act for blowing the whistle on the NSA. The segment nicely plays up the fact he did not commit espionage and, instead, was a “cost-benefit analysis expert,” who had examined two intelligence gathering programs and decided one was cheaper and would lead to less fraud, waste, abuse and illegalities.
Jones introduces the two programs by saying ThinThread was an “efficient $4 million program” and Trailblazer was a $3 billion program that “didn’t quite work, spied on Americans and was quite a bit more expensive.”
Drake leads Jones through the act he committed describing why the government decided to prosecute him. Jesselyn Radack, a lawyer for Drake and National Security & Human Rights Director at the Government Accountability Project, appears in the segment with Drake and gets in a good line before the segment concludes.
What’s shown basically affirms what Jon Stewart says in the introduction, ”When it’s information the Obama administration no likey, they’ve been sonsofbitches on government whistleblowers.” And it ran right after Stewart skewered former New York Times columnist Judith Miller for going on Fox News to rail against Obama administration “leaks.” [Here's that segment, which made for a great lead-in to the segment with Drake.]
These two segments aired in the first ten minutes of the program last night, the opening of the show. It gave Americans a flavor of the hypocrisy driving “leak hysteria” and the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowing. Few Americans are likely familiar with Drake—and they should be—so the “Daily Show” engaged in a kind of public service by choosing to satirize his case.