Thomas A. Drake, a former National Security Agency official, was indicted yesterday after allegedly having disclosed classified information to a reporter for a national newspaper “who wrote newspaper articles about the NSA and its intelligence activities in 2006 and 2007.” The reporter and the newspaper were not named.
Mr. Drake allegedly provided classified documents to the reporter and assisted him or her with researching stories about the NSA that were published between February 27, 2006 and November 28, 2007. “Defendant DRAKE served as a source for many of these newspaper articles, including articles that contained SIGINT information,” the April 14 indictment (pdf) stated.
“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,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer in a Justice Department news release.
Interestingly, Mr. Drake was not specifically charged with unauthorized disclosure of classified information, nor was he charged at all under the “SIGINT” statute, 18 USC 798. Instead, according to the indictment, he was charged under 18 USC 793 with unlawful retention of classified information, as well as with obstruction of justice and making false statements.