During a Restore the Fourth rally in Washington D.C. last week, former National Security Agency employee-turned-whistleblower Thomas Drake called on Americans to revolt against government surveillance and information control.
“I call for a new American Revolution declaring our independence from the surveillance state and government control of information,” he said.
Drake went on to decry the Federal government’s unquenchable thirst for power, saying that the United States “has become the kind of secret, undemocratic, authoritarian, imperialist nation against whom we fought the first American Revolution.”
“We the people do not consent to the surveillance state,” Drake said. “We will not forsake our rights for the sake of national security. We will not accept that the end justifies the means. We will not accept the government granting itself license to steal our liberty and our information away from us.”
Drake was prosecuted in 2010 under the Espionage Act for allegedly disclosing classified information on the NSA’s wire-tapping program.
Eventually, with help from the Government Accountability Project, he was cleared of all charges related to the government’s goal of putting him in jail for “the rest of his natural life.” Drake pleaded guilty to a simple misdemeanor of “exceeding authorized use of a computer” and was sentenced to one year of probation and community service. While, perhaps, the justice system didn’t completely fail Drake in the end, the government he angered effectively dismantled his career and disrupted his life in terrible ways.