The NSA and the Constitution: Whistleblower Thomas Drake Speaks Out

Main Library

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The Peace Advocacy Coalition, a group of independent peace activists from various educational institutions and activist groups based along the Wasatch Front, presents guest lecturer Thomas Andrews Drake. Since becoming an NSA whistleblower, and following the government's subsequent dismissal of all espionage charges against him in 2011, Drake has become an activist against the surveillance state, frequently giving interviews and speaking at events.

ABOUT THOMAS ANDREWS DRAKE
Thomas Andrews Drake is a former senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), a decorated United States Air Force veteran, a United States Navy veteran, and a whistleblower. Drake was one of several internal parties in the minority in opposing an NSA experimental program called “Trailblazer”, used to sift through electronic communications for national security threats, in favor of the "ThinThread" Project. He alleged that the Trailblazer Project was inefficient and also violated Americans’ privacy rights. In accordance with whistleblower protection laws, such as the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, Drake worked his way through the legal processes that are prescribed for government employees who believe that questionable activities are taking place in their departments, to no avail.

Drake was charged with violating the Espionage Act, but contended that he was instead being targeted for challenging waste, mismanagement and possible constitutional violations at the National Security Agency. As a result, he faced a possible sentence of 35 years in prison for the charges, even though he was never actually accused of spying. Instead, he was accused of holding on to classified documents in his basement that he says he did not even know were classified. The case against him later collapsed, and on June 9, 2011, all 10 original charges against him were dropped.

Drake has become an activist against the surveillance state, frequently giving interviews and speaking at events such as Restore the Fourth. “I did what I did because I am rooted in the faith that my duty was to the American people,” Drake has said. "I knew that you did not spy on Americans and that we were accountable for spending American taxpayer monies wisely.” Drake's actions reportedly inspired Edward Snowden to leak information on the NSA spying program PRISM in June 2013.

For an additional introduction to the topic, please view this 60 Minutes segment from 2011, courtesy of CBS News:


This event is sponsored by the Peace Advocacy Coalition, a group of independent peace activists from various educational institutions and activist groups based along the Wasatch Front in Utah. In order to promote awareness, knowledge, and discussion, the Peace Advocacy Coalition hosts an interesting repertory of guest lecturers each year on the subject of peace. In 2014, the Peace Advocacy Coalition will be hosting guest lectures focused on the theme of “Healing 9/11", including an additional upcoming event being hosted in The City Library's Main Auditorium, Pursuing Peace: Working For and Against the U.S. Government (April 17, 7pm).

Location: Main Library Auditorium

Contact Information: 801-524-8200