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To Protect or To Prosecute? National Security Whistleblowers

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Published on Mar 22, 2012

The Brennan Center hosted a panel discussion on March 20, 2012 at NYU Law as part of the Government Accountability Project's "American Whistleblower Tour," a public education campaign featuring stops at colleges and universities around the country throughout 2011-2012.

The discussion featured two prominent national security whistleblowers: Thomas Drake, a former National Security Agency official who exposed the agency's funding of a data collection program that was expensive, ineffective, and invasive of Americans' privacy rights; and Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department official who raised alarms about ethical violations in the FBI's interrogation of the "American Taliban," John Walker Lindh. Radack also served as Drake's counsel when the Justice Department charged him under the Espionage Act. Drake faced decades in prison until the dramatic — and widely reported— collapse of the case in June 2011.

Liza Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center's Liberty and National Security Program, also participated in the panel. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barton Gellman moderated the discussion.

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