Whistleblower Gets Plea Deal in NSA Case

White House had hoped to send message on leaks
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2011 6:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – A White House attempt to crack down on classified leaks is fizzling with a misdemeanor plea deal, reports the Washington Post. Former NSA official Thomas Drake will plead guilty to using a government computer to share information with an unauthorized person—who happened to a be a Baltimore Sun reporter. He will serve no jail time or even pay a fine, and he's cleared of any allegations that he mishandled classified information.

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It's a far cry from the 10 felony counts he was originally charged with under the Espionage Act, which could have meant 35 years in jail. Drake gave the information to the reporter because he thought the National Security Agency was violating citizens' privacy with policies put in place in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. He left the NSA n 2008. (Read more Thomas Drake stories.)

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