By DEMONI NEWMAN
Last Thursday night, there was a celebration in the world of government accountability. In the courtyard of the Mott House, good government folks from Washington and the surrounding area gathered to celebrate the outcome of the Thomas Drake case.
We’ve told you about Drake’s case before. Thomas Drake blew the whistle on a wasteful, multi-billion dollar intelligence program that may have put Americans’ civil liberties at risk. He was retaliated against for his actions, and was even charged under the Espionage Act. But in June, the Justice Department’s (DOJ) case against Drake fell apart, and he accepted a DOJ-face-saving misdemeanor plea agreement.
So on Thursday, the Ridenhour Prizes, the Fertel Foundation, the Fund for Constitutional Government, POGO, the Nation Institute, and the Public Concern Foundation honored Mr. Drake, as well as the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland, the Government Accountability Project, and John Cline for their roles in supporting him.
The outcome of the Thomas Drake case is important for whistleblowers everywhere. Perhaps the Obama administration will learn from the Drake case that prosecuting whistleblowers is not acceptable. And maybe other public workers will be inspired by Drake’s selflessness and similarly fight waste. If nothing else, one man’s fight to stop government waste, fraud, and abuse has been vindicated, and he can now get his life back. That is reason to celebrate. Find photos of the event below the jump.