Long before Edward Snowden went public, John Crane was a top Pentagon official fighting to protect NSA whistleblowers. Instead their lives were ruined – and so was his
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By now, almost everyone knows what Edward Snowden did. He leaked top-secret documents revealing that the National Security Agency was spying on hundreds of millions of people across the world, collecting the phone calls and emails of virtually everyone on Earth who used a mobile phone or the internet. When this newspaper began publishing the NSA documents in June 2013, it ignited a fierce political debate that continues to this day – about government surveillance, but also about the morality, legality and civic value of whistleblowing.
But if you want to know why Snowden did it, and the way he did it, you have to know the stories of two other men.
The first is Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on the very same NSA activities 10 years before Snowden did. Drake was a much higher-ranking NSA official than Snowden, and he obeyed US whistleblower laws, raising his concerns through official channels. And he got crushed.
Drake was fired, arrested at dawn by gun-wielding FBI agents, stripped of his security clearance, charged with crimes that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life, and all but ruined financially and professionally. The only job he could find afterwards was working in an Apple store in suburban Washington, where he remains today. Adding insult to injury, his warnings about the dangers of the NSA’s surveillance programme were largely ignored.
“The government spent many years trying to break me, and the more I resisted, the nastier they got,” Drake told me.
Begrudging WashPost poll: Trump 46%, Clinton 44%
It's not the headline, and it takes 219 words to get there, but a new Washington Post poll on the presidential race reveals that Republican Donald Trump leads Democrat Hillary Clinton among registered voters 46 percent to 44 percent.
Read The WASH POST POLL
WASH POST: TRUMP LEADS