Edward Snowden was not the first NSA official to sound the alarm. Thomas Drake, winner of the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, makes his case to Free Speech Debate.
Thomas Drake argues that as a National Security Agency (NSA) official he took an oath to the US constitution, not to a secrecy agreement (00:20).
This secrecy was narrowly defined as classified information. In 2008 he resigned as his security clearance was suspended and his house was raided by FBI agents (02:00). Drake provided significant amounts of information on the secret surveillance programme known as Stella Wind in the aftermath of 9/11, and revealed corruption and abuse at NSA. He approached someone from the Baltimore Sun in 2006, exercising his freedom of speech, guaranteed under the First Amendment of the US constitution, because he felt the information on wire-tapping was in the public interest (03:45). The secret surveillance practice also went against a superior directive called ThinThread , which provides full protection of the Fourth Amendment rights, and included the prime directive of the NSE since the 1960s – you do not spy on Americans without a warrant. Drake provided this information, which was used in a New York Times article, the publication of which triggered an extraordinary response (05:05). The NSA launched a massive criminal investigation looking for the sources for the article in which he got caught up (05:35).