NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake on the US Secrecy State as Predator of the First Amendment

{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”410″ height=”380″ align=”right” !}

National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake delivered a speech at the National Press Club luncheon on March 15. He addressed the “long shadow of government secrecy” that increasingly “obscures the view of democracy in our constitutional republic or what’s left of it.”

Video of the entire speech given during the luncheon appears at the top of the post.

The speech focuses explicitly on free speech and the First Amendment. Drake was indicted under the Espionage Act and threatened with the potential of serving the rest of his life in prison for exposing fraud, waste, abuse and illegality related to warrantless wiretapping by the NSA. Drawing from experience, he declares:

The threats to the First Amendment by the government is bull’s eye-centered on a free unfettered press designed to suppress and repress speech and political expression in America, create fear through privilege and unilateral authority over what is fit or unfit for the First Amendment.

If speech becomes the instrument of crime when revealing government crime and wrongdoing, we are under arbitrary authoritarian rule and not the rule of law.

“I can make an argument that government increasingly prefers to operate in the shadows and finds the First Amendment a constraint on its activities,” Drake states. “And yet, taking off the veil of government secrecy has more often than not turned truth-tellers and whistleblowers into turncoats and traitors, who are then often criminally burned and blacklisted and broken by the government on the stake of national security.”

He reflects:

I knew too much truth and exposed government illegalities, fraud and abuse and was turned into a criminal for doing so. I was charged under the Espionage Act, faced many years in prison and became an enemy of the state. It was five years of living under the boot of the Surveillance State and yet I was saved by the First Amendment and the court of public opinion and the free press, including the strength and growing resiliency of the alternative media.

To communicate his view of the stark state of America, he poses the following questions:

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake on the US Secrecy State as Predator of the First Amendment

{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”410″ height=”500″ align=”none” !}

National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake delivered a speech at the National Press Club luncheon on March 15. He addressed the “long shadow of government secrecy” that increasingly “obscures the view of democracy in our constitutional republic or what’s left of it.”

Video of the entire speech given during the luncheon appears at the top of the post.

The speech focuses explicitly on free speech and the First Amendment. Drake was indicted under the Espionage Act and threatened with the potential of serving the rest of his life in prison for exposing fraud, waste, abuse and illegality related to warrantless wiretapping by the NSA. Drawing from experience, he declares:

The threats to the First Amendment by the government is bull’s eye-centered on a free unfettered press designed to suppress and repress speech and political expression in America, create fear through privilege and unilateral authority over what is fit or unfit for the First Amendment.

If speech becomes the instrument of crime when revealing government crime and wrongdoing, we are under arbitrary authoritarian rule and not the rule of law.

“I can make an argument that government increasingly prefers to operate in the shadows and finds the First Amendment a constraint on its activities,” Drake states. “And yet, taking off the veil of government secrecy has more often than not turned truth-tellers and whistleblowers into turncoats and traitors, who are then often criminally burned and blacklisted and broken by the government on the stake of national security.” (more…)