By NICK SCHWELLENBACH
When the subject of national security whistleblowers came up at a White House meeting in March, "the President shifted in his seat and leaned forward," my boss Danielle Brian told The New Yorker's Jane Mayer. "He said this may be where we have some differences. He said he doesn't want to protect the people who leak to the media war plans that could impact the troops."
Mayer also wrote that my boss:
felt that [the President] might be misinformed about some of the current leak cases. She warned Obama that prosecuting whistle-blowers would undermine his legacy. Brian had been told by the White House to avoid any 'ask's on specific issues, but she told the President that, according to his own logic, Drake was exactly the kind of whistle-blower who deserved protection.
Why did Obama appear misinformed? Thomas Drake, a former senior executive at the highly secretive National Security Agency (NSA) who is being prosecuted by the Justice Department under the Espionage Act, did not leak information that could give our enemies any sort of advantage. Instead he blew the whistle on a failed multi-billion dollar intelligence program called Trailblazer that came at the expense of a cheaper, more effective intelligence program known as ThinThread that had civil liberties-protecting technology built-in, according to Drake.
A few weeks after the aforementioned White House meeting, the Justice Department dropped its investigation into Thomas Tamm, a former Justice Department attorney who blew the whistle on the warrantless wiretapping in the previous administration. But DOJ's prosecution of Drake continues.