In a whirlwind conclusion to the prosecution of former National Security Agency official Thomas A. Drake, Mr. Drake agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of “exceeding authorized use of a computer.”
Prosecutors were unable to sustain any of the felony counts against Mr. Drake that were contained in last year’s ten-count indictment, including charges of unauthorized retention of classified material under the Espionage Act of 1917.
A copy of the June 9, 2011 plea agreement is here.
Mr. Drake had been suspected of unauthorized disclosures of classified information to the press, though he was not specifically charged with that offense, and he denied committing it.
Much of the case was conducted behind closed doors and off the public record, so many intriguing aspects of its ultimate resolution remain obscure for the time being. But it seems clear that the Obama Administration misjudged the merits of its case against Drake, pursuing minor infractions with disproportionate zeal.
Meanwhile, Mr. Drake’s legal team, public defenders James Wyda and Deborah L. Boardman, did a superb job of defending their client in a challenging legal environment. Drake’s supporters at the Government Accountability Project managed to win a remarkable degree of public sympathy and support for a supposed felon.
Speaking of disproportionate zeal, I wrote last Monday that there was “no possibility” of avoiding trial on June 13. Consider this a correction.
A uniform software tool for inputting building permit data would make the U.S. Census Bureau’s Building Permit Survey (BPS) more reliable, and it would also facilitate more fine-grained geographical analysis of new housing development.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) should prioritize funding water projects for local governments that would expand the production of new housing in their service areas if given the water resources to do so.
Congress needs to amend the definition of a manufactured home to remove the phrase “on a permanent chassis.” By doing this, Congress can eliminate wasted construction materials, allow new multifamily design options under the HUD Code, and unleash competition from factory-built manufactured housing.
Satellite images show that the Navy has begun construction of a new nuclear weapons storage and handling facility at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.