Wiretap Whistleblower Reflects on Fateful Leak

Fmr. Justice official wrestles with effects of NYT call
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 15, 2008 9:45 AM CST
Newsweek's Michael Isikoff writes about Thomas M. Tamm, former Justice Department lawyer who leaked information about the Bush administration's warrantless-wiretapping program.   (PRNewsFoto/NEWSWEEK)
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(Newser) – The government lawyer who blew the whistle on the Bush administration’s domestic wiretapping program has wrestled with the consequences of his decision, but he felt obligated to tell the truth, Newsweek reports. “I thought this (secret program) was something the other branches of the government—and the public—ought to know about. So they could decide: do they want this massive spying program to be taking place?” Thomas Tamm says now.

Tamm was working in the Justice Department when he came upon an eavesdropping program that “didn’t smell right.” Told by colleagues to ignore it, he instead called the New York Times. Since then, he’s faced FBI raids, his family has undergone questioning, and he’s struggled to pay off debt; arrest still threatens. But “if somebody were to say, who am I to do that? I would say, 'I had taken an oath to uphold the Constitution,’” he says.