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Thomas Drake Innocent of All Ten Original Charges

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the well-played-sir-well-played dept.

Crime 243

decora writes "NPR, and dozens of other media sources, are reporting that NSA IT whistleblower Thomas Andrews Drake is innocent of all 10 original charges against him; including the 5 Espionage Act charges for 'retention' of 'national defense information.' Drake stared down the government to the last minute, rejecting deal after deal, because he 'refused to plea bargain with the truth.' The judge had even recently ruled that there was no evidence that Drake passed classified information to a reporter. In the end, he has agreed that he committed a misdemeanor: 'unauthorized access to a computer.' It is unknown what this means for the other non-spy espionage cases that Obama's DOJ currently has pending (Kim, Sterling, Manning), or the Grand Jury that is currently meeting to discuss Espionage Act charges related to WikiLeaks."

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Sentencing (4, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396062)

FYI, since it wasn't in the summary and people will inevitably ask: the charges carry a max of one year in jail, and the prosecution agreed not to pursue any jail time at all.

He's innocent? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396128)

But what about the impact? There's no denying our (the US) enemies are happy about it.

Re:He's innocent? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396174)

I don't think either the neocons or the Obama administration would be happy about this.

Re:He's innocent? (-1, Troll)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396502)

Not a problem, Obama will simply replace a few judges and re-try the case.

Watch it happen.

- Dan.

Re:He's innocent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396572)

On what basis do you make this accusation.

Obama isn't my favorite person right now, but has he actually fired judges and replaced them just to retry a case?

If not, then your on the noise part of the signal to noise ratio.

Re:He's innocent? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396780)

The accusation is made on the basis that the parent hates Obama, and is willing to say any thing, with or without justification. That's what partisanship is, it's a mental disease, a behavioral disorder.

Re:He's innocent? (2)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397056)

Politicians come and go. They should always be challenged upon every decision they make, they need not be respected nor adored, in fact it is normal that a significant portion of the population dislike them, anything else stinks of corruption and grossly biased media.

What needs to be challenged in this case is an out of control bureaucracy, a willingness amongst it's members to pervert the course of law to feed their own ego and chances of promotion. The distortion is reflected in the change from policing to law enforcement, where policing forces those meant to assist the public in upholding the law, now feel entitled to use force against the public to inflict their own personal view of the law.

Torture is the norm, whether it be chemical weapons or electric shock, to enforce the ego of law enforcement members. Likewise the legal system is abused, with those who are meant to seek justice now abusing it to feed their own personal goals.

Who is at fault the politicians or the electorate, those ignorant idiots that cheered along the war on drugs(actually a violent assault upon drug users), those that supported crap like environmental terrorists (not the polluters mind you but the people trying to prevent the pollution), that approved restrictive compounds and permits for protesters (utterly pointless protests and those citizens treated like disobedient children in a protest play pen), and routine violent assaults upon protesters with virtually zero justice (complete and total abandonment of the legal principles of minimum force) and of course using the courts as a penalty a pre-emptive fine of ten of thousands of dollars used with criminal intent and extortion as it's base motivation.

Re:He's innocent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396598)

"Not a problem, Obama will simply replace a few judges and re-try the case."

You obviously don't know shit about the law or the government.

It is in the best interests of the Obama administration, which currently harbors
foolishly unrealistic hopes for a second term, to put the ugliness which is revealed
by this case to bed asap.

Further, Drake has been found innocent for good reason : he is innocent.

So why don't you take your neofascist wet dreams on down the line, buddy, and
quit making comments on things you don't know about.

And by the way, Drake's counsel is a personal friend of mine. So yes, I do happen to know
a lot more about the case than you do.

Re:He's innocent? (1)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396972)

Does the phrase "double jeopardy" ring any bells? No? Here....let me help: "Double jeopardy is a procedural defense that forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same, or similar charges following a legitimate acquittal or conviction"

For further reading: Double Jeopardy [wikipedia.org]

Re:He's innocent? (1)

Jaktar (975138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396980)

Stop poking holes in everyone's conspiracy theories with your truth and logic!

OP is a Mormon with some wacky ideas ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397032)

Just look at his home page, where he claims he has "done so much more than
the average American". What kind of nutcase makes such claims ? That's some
scary stuff, which sounds frighteningly close to the claims a "supremacist" would make.
Furthermore, people who have actually accomplished things don't sit around making
claims, they are too busy actually doing things.

Next, go to the "contact" page and notice how "Hylandr" attempts to censor your email
before you even write it. This is straight out of the fascist training manual, folks.

You can and should draw your own conclusions, but IMO this "Hylandr" is a seriously
weird individual.

Re:He's innocent? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396210)

But what about the impact? There's no denying our (the US) enemies are happy about it.

Dear US, not everything is about you. Kinda fighting a civil war right now.

Hugs and kisses,

Muammar Kadafi

Re:He's innocent? (4, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396232)

It was enemies of the USA that wasted time and taxpayers money bringing him to trial in the first place - they just happen to be on the US payroll. They are not going to be happy and external forces are really not going to give a shit either way about a conveniently guy some lazy spooks grabbed because doing their real job requires too much hard work.

Re:He's innocent? (2)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396600)

But what about the impact? There's no denying our (the US) enemies are happy about it.

Corrupt elements within the NSA brought bogus charges against a heroic whistle blower and lost big-time. And... you think our enemies are happy?

Re:He's innocent? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396914)

AC presumes the US' enemies are happy about it. Since your points are obvious, "thinking" clearly wasn't part of the activity.

Re:He's innocent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396616)

Frankly, even us non-enemies are pretty glad to see this. Your country is getting fairly anti-democratic; how long before the world starts meeting without out you to discuss what to do about you?

Re:He's innocent? (1)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396702)

While would they be happy about it? Drake obviously committed no espionage. I am pretty sure our enemies are planning to commit actual espionage and not merely to do whistle blowing in order to improve our government agencies.

Re:He's innocent? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396926)

Apparently, the US' enemies operate on the theory that governments are inefficient and incompetent, so improving the US government would clearly destabilize it. .....or maybe not.

And, yes, I'm sure you're right.

Hooray for Mr. Drake (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396618)

America is turning into a police state.

The authority is actually violating the laws in this case.

Instead of innocent until proven guilty, the authority is using that "traitor" bait to paint Mr. Drake as if he is guilty of treason against the United States of America.

Shame on Uncle Sam !!

FALSE !! NOT GUILTY IS NOT INNOCENT !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396066)

As you should be made to know !!

OJ was not guilty, but NOT innocent !!

Re:FALSE !! NOT GUILTY IS NOT INNOCENT !! (2)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396096)

Sorry, but here in the States you are assumed innocent until proven guilty. At least, that's how it's supposed to work.

Re:FALSE !! NOT GUILTY IS NOT INNOCENT !! (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396142)

That's not what he is talking about. Findings of a jury or of a judge trial is not whether someone is innocent, but whether they are guilty or not guilty of the charges. There is a difference [blogspot.com] .

Re:FALSE !! NOT GUILTY IS NOT INNOCENT !! (5, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396258)

No, you aren't assumed innocent. The courts are supposed to presume innocence while in front of a jury. There is no "duty" for anyone not actively presenting to a jury while a court is in session to presume or assume innocence.

Further, assuming (or presuming) something is irrelevant to whether it's true. OJ killed Nicole. He is guilty of that act. He was found not guilty in a court of law. None of those are contradictory statements of fact (whether they are true is something that can be debated elsewhere).

If the cops presumed you innocent, they'd never arrest you. If the prosecutor presumed you innocent, they'd never file charges. If the judge presumed you innocent, he'd not let the trial proceed. The presumption of innocence is what the jury is supposed to do, and nobody else in the entire system (and certainly nobody outside the justice system) is expected to presume innocence, though they are expected to act that way under reasonable rules of the court when in front of the jury.

Re:FALSE !! NOT GUILTY IS NOT INNOCENT !! (2)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396544)

Police - Your honor, I need a warrant to search the suspect's home.

Judge - What probable cause are you basing the warrant on?

Police - The suspect destroyed the evidence.

Judge - You saw him destroy the evidence?

Police - No, but there is no other way we could have missed it, the killer would have left a trail of blood. Since the suspect did it and we didn't find a trail of blood the only possible explanation is that he destroyed the evidence. To deny this warrant would be to reward him for committing more crimes.

Judge - ??

It doesn't work that way. The standards of evidence may vary but the presumption of innocence applies to the entire legal system.

Re:FALSE !! NOT GUILTY IS NOT INNOCENT !! (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396846)

Requiring due process isn't a presumption of innocence. It's a requirement of due process. The process doesn't presume innocence. It is designed more to prove guilt while meeting the bare minimum Constitutional protections.

Not false. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396150)

They had no case. He was a source for Congress and others within our government on a massive NSA wiretapping program to make government recording all of our plaintext emails look like the the purest product of enlightenment and benevolence, probably the creepiest secret surveillance program of the modern era.

The only upside compared to other systems is that because we live in the US, and we have a strong federal judiciary and some strong de jure personal freedoms, the results of the surveillance are only rarely if ever actually used against our citizens, to justify torturing or imprisoning them, etc...--it's not like Chechneya, for example, where everyone is afraid someone else is one of the secret police, and the Russia-backed head of state goes around personally torturing people. Ask a reporter there if they would feel comfortable criticizing him and they respond "there'd be no need to ever do that!"

This guy may be an ass, I don't know--but the NSA went too far, and someone had to expose that in a way which did not betray the country, as to Congressional oversight. I am sure the NSA meant well and I can imagine how much pressure they were in post-911. I don't blame them for going too far, I blame them for not pulling back on their own as it became more obvious they were violating the Constitution. The problem is whether the next guy will mean as well, whether they always will, and whether rules will come more and more to reflect a disconnect between the morality of individuals and the ethics of government, causing a schism contrary to the ideals of democracy and the free world.

Re:Not false. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396270)

They had no case. He was a source for Congress and others within our government on a massive NSA wiretapping program to make government recording all of our plaintext emails look like the the purest product of enlightenment and benevolence, probably the creepiest secret surveillance program of the modern era.

Maybe NSA did have a case, but if they wanted to make that case, they would have had to admit that the allegations were essentially true. Unacceptable option.

But even if the allegations were completely bogus, confirming that would be just as bad a leak in terms of exposing NSA's capabilities. Equally unacceptable option.

It was a classic Catch-22. (Best catch there is.) Both sides get to walk away with a win: NSA keeps its secrets to itself, and Yossarian lives. Well-played on both sides.

I saw a man upon a stair
A man in court who wasn't there
To testify for NSA.
(The winning move was not to play.)

Re:Not false. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396508)

Really depends how they wanted to be seen. Well outside the US, mess with telco in a public way, your suicided.
The UK and US have faced people in court before. Their great fear is the press about the global reach of intercepts.
The UK never wants another ABC trial, Aubrey/Berry and Campbell put quality public information on the GCHQ together and where taken to court on a "secrets" change in the late 1970's.
The NSA faced the same over the years, then you had the Sibel Edmonds in the US, Katharine Gun in the UK (case dropped very quickly), Mark Klein and Room 641A.
Pre-911 the NSA was much smaller, post-911 the NSA wanted to tell anyone in the US gov about their skills and what they knew about pre 911, they where not asked much.
They have now got massive, rapid funding. The fun part is the press is now all about the trail and not the original "whistle-blower investigation"/"financial waste"/"legal practices" aspect. A big win :)

Re:FALSE !! NOT GUILTY IS NOT INNOCENT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396596)

How dare you besmerch the good name of Orenthal James Simpson. May you rot in prison for the rest of your days for this, you heathen mufathucka! He is innoncent and that was proven nearly 20 years ago.

Re:FALSE !! NOT GUILTY IS NOT INNOCENT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396658)

[Google "I'ma Bang DMX" before flaming...]

I'ma Bang! Hit the block pitchin slang
Bang! Hit the rock spit the game
Bang! Get the glock spit the flame
Do my motherfuckin thing!


My journey has earned me the right to reach
I burned so I earned the right to teach, what to eat (c'mon)
What niggaz been gettin' fed is pork (uhh)
What you niggaz been gettin' fed, shouldn't be even on your fork
Let's talk (aight), about this, and about that (uh-huh)
Yeah, we like this or we can do it out back (aight)
Keep the bullshit for the rodeo
'Cause on the real, you cocksuckers don't know me yo
Hit you wit' something for frontin' that'll end your life
Then hit your crib and bend your wife (c'mon)
Grrrrrrrrr


I'ma Bang! Hit the block pitchin slang
Bang! Hit the rock spit the game
Bang! Get the glock spit the flame
Do my motherfuckin thing!

a tiny glimmer of hope (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396080)

that all is not lost for the U.S.A.

But the pessimist in me is pretty convinced this will not have the effect of a call to rationality, but rather a doubling down to ensure that the next case can be held up as an example to those who would dare bring light to the misdeeds of those in power. Maybe they will feel they need to have an execution for maximal effect.

then crushed like a bug (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396798)

the court could not convict? not a problem. congress critter is already working on something to make sure the next guy will be staring at life sentence or firing squad. just mention the word "terrorism" and "unpatriotic" and all the congress critters will fall in line.

Link to court statement: (-1, Offtopic)

slashstasher (2250594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396084)

Here what I found [aeonity.com]

Re:Link to court statement: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396224)

Would advise against clicking the link in the troll post above. Especially if you're at work atm.

innocent...not (0)

turkeydance (1266624) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396090)

not guilty is not equal to innocent.

Re:innocent...not (1)

siglercm (6059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396538)

I don't get it. Do /.ers not understand the basics of the U.S. legal system (a rhetorical question...)?

Not guilty does *not* mean innocent. At least two posters state this, and this is a basic fact. Yet they are modded to oblivion as trolls, etc.

And this guy is *not* innocent, if anyone bothered to read the news, regardless of one's biased point of view. This is a fact. He will plead guilty to lesser, misdemeanor charges.

OK, now I guess I'll get modded to oblivion as a troll, too, eh?

Re:innocent...not (1)

siglercm (6059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396548)

Sorry, to be clearer I should have said: "On point in this particular case, this guy is not innocent, if anyone bothered to read the news...."

Re:innocent...not (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396768)

/.ers tend to handle intersection in a weird way. A intersects B implies A = B. "Not guilty" intersects Innocent so "Not guilty" = Innocent. Top it off with some rigid binary thinking, Guilty XOR "Not Guilty" and Bob's your uncle.

Re:innocent...not (1)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396900)

people tend to handle intersection in a weird way.

FTFY

"Not guilty" intersects Innocent so "Not guilty" = Innocent

I have to admit that the bash side of my brain appreciates your quotation marks. In any case, I checked out Merriam-Webster to see what the real language nazis think about !guilty?=innocent, and they indicate that guilty is a near antonym of innocent [merriam-webster.com] , and not an exact antonym. That is the most heartwarming experience I have ever had with a dictionary.

Re:innocent...not (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396934)

> I don't get it. Do /.ers not understand the basics of the U.S. legal system (a rhetorical question...)?

Of course they don't. We don't teach law in our school system, for the most part. If you ask someone how a bill becomes a law, they will say it has to be approved by a majority of congress and signed by the president--but the reality is a lot more politics, industry groups, committee activity, anonymous holds, riders, earmarks, comments, a lot of meaningless fluff to be sound bytes, a lot of time on the phone to donors, congressional approval (not necessarily majority vote), and then presidential signing. And that's just for the stuff that comes out of Congress--we have a lot of other law, through rule-making and regulatory authority and through the court system, and on the state and local level.

You could cover a huge amount of it in a semester or year with good students, in a decent survey course, but we don't.

Great victory! (-1, Troll)

marsdreamer (2251004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396100)

Even despite attempts to bully [tinyurl.com] the jury!

Re:Great victory! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396136)

Attempt at goat.se troll. It didn't work in Chrome, but still should get modded to oblivion.

Waste, waste, waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396112)

Sadly, the story on the National Politburo Radio site doesn't say how much taxpayer money was wasted on this useless prosecution. I'm sure, though, that, just like in the equally-useless-but-with-a-sadder-ending prosecution of Bernard von NotHaus, the U.S. Attorney's office will have a press conference to proclaim how they obtained justice against an evil “domestic terrorist.”

Re:Waste, waste, waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396346)

National Politburo Radio

Now that right there's funny, I don't care who ya are!...

Re:Waste, waste, waste (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396948)

Given that the Politburo is the one source not paying NPR a damn thing these days, and given NPR's unnerving willingness to broadcasting material embarassing to the government far in excess of those media sources who you personally pay to tell you what's going on, you might want to consider which source is actually in the public's interest.

What about the IT guy that NSA charged? (-1, Offtopic)

dotfan (2251016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396114)

Just a month ago there was a story about a guy that was charged with spying although he claims he just reported gaping security [thoughts.com] they had in software.

Re:What about the IT guy that NSA charged? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396144)

dotfan, I hope you don't live in Tennessee!
http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/06/09/2053245/Tennessee-Bans-Posting-Offensive-Images-Online

Re:What about the IT guy that NSA charged? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396158)

You're a lowlife faggot piece of shit.

Re:What about the IT guy that NSA charged? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396274)

FUCK.YOU.ASS.HOLE.

Re:What about the IT guy that NSA charged? (-1, Troll)

dotdotdotter (2251076) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396314)

THANK YOU FOR THE FOOD:

"FUCK.YOU.ASS.HOLE."
"Ugh. Goatse. NSFW. Asshole (poster and picture, both)."
"Seriously ... new account to post that ... what a douche!"
"You're a fucking douchbag." - "That is the most accurate comment yet"
"I hope you die in a fire before you are old enough to contaminate the gene pool."
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"Asshole... Ginormous asshole, in fact."
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"You're a lowlife faggot piece of shit."

Hate:
"I hate your guts."
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"Damn! Mod this fucker to hell"
"Fucking troll, do not click there"
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"Wait! I think I hear your mommy calling to give your tongue a good soap washing. And maybe she'll execute you too"
"You fucking piece of shit!" , "You sorry piece of shit." , "You cunt.", "Fuck you."
"It's because of Assholes like you that I can no longer trust URL shorteners"
"I did not even bother to look, but this same idiot has been doing this for weeks now. Fuck off asshole."
"What a retard..... enough said...."

Funny:
"Didn't click it, but the magic 8-ball says goatse."
"Would advise against clicking the link in the troll post above. Especially if you're at work atm."
"Thanks, I'm reading slashdot in class like a good student and just got tubgirl'd."
"not gonna click it to find out, but I'd be surprised if parent's link wasn't goatse... It appears you would be correct sir. Why oh why do I always forget.."
"Watching second monitor, there was something wrong with the other screen. Control + w. Phew..."
"Doh! One has to also recognize data urls. *sigh*"
"That's somewhat clever, but some of us do know what base-64 encoding is."
"Can you not afford normal entertainment?"
"Hey family! Come look! They're opening the Google Talk client! Now, click here...... (sees goatse)"
"I tried to post warnings about the goaste loving jerk yesterday but was modded into oblivion as a karma whore"
"Turn on TinyUrl previews. It saves lives."
"Posting your picture online again?"
"Really? Are you not tired of this yet?"
"High likelyhood of being a Goatse link. Proceed with caution"
"This is grown up talk, 4chan is that way ->"
"Hey moron, try using different links."

Emotion:
"i WAS eating lunch you ass!"
"Oh dear god my eyes. Haven't seen THAT awful image in a while."
"My eyes are burning... argh! Damn you!"
"MY EYES... dude i am at work here "S "
"WARNING: Don't click on the parent's link! Damn goatse! The first I experienced, no less.
"Oh goddammit. I didn't need that right before bed."
"goatse warning! I'm still recovering."
"Please friends, I beg of you, do not click that link! Do not look at that image, whatever you do! It is a bad image! It is a goatse image."

Frustration:
"Can someone make a fucking goatse blocker firefox plugin please? This is pissing me off now."
"I am sick and tired of that crap on /. "

Philosophy:
"Goatse trolls are getting better these days..."
"Why the sudden coordinated campaign for Goatse? Is someone making money off this?"
"You're right, this is the most coordinated troll campaign in a long time. Multiple accounts, multiple pages."
"Urgh...dammit, am I the only one thinking the goatse trolls are getting worse lately than they have been in the past five years?"
"Who found a way to monetize goatse at this late date? If we got half the effort of that campaign on real stuff we'd all have better software by now."
"Boy Goatsex is out in force today... - Every topic is littered with them..."
"You can't actually expect the Slashdot users to actually know enough not to respond to a goatse troll, right ?"
"Can we start banning people who post that hiding it behind a url shortening link like goo.gl?"

Admiration:
"You are one dedicated troll."
"Well played, sir. Well played."
"A link that redirects to a page containing goatse? How clever of you!"
"Congrats. It's been a long time since I saw goatse."
"Thank you for that informational link"
"Interesting use of Data URLs for Goatse linking."
"Link is self portrait of ME"
"Goatse URL - Haven't seen that guy in a while"
"Well played, sir. It's been a while since I've been Goatse'd"

Misc:
"The fuck is a goatse? it's some dude pulling his arse open."
"Could not someone at slashdot write a small script to blacklist url's that have been flagged troll? I'll do it if you pay me a slave wage..."
"Parent should be modded down. Link is NSFW and mentally scarring."
"Just post the damn url, i'm not going to click on a tinyurl link and get goatse'd or something.."
"Someone please mod this guy down... Don't click his link."
"Mod to -1, please. this guy is an 'asshole'.... (yes, you guessed it)"
"Don't click the link! Goatse wannabe."
"Danger, goatse"

Re:What about the IT guy that NSA charged? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396350)

Child

Re:What about the IT guy that NSA charged? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396480)

Pedophile.

Article from the New Yorker (5, Informative)

NoseSocks (662467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396126)

I found the following article from the New Yorker to provide considerable information about what led up to the charges:
New Yorker: The Secret Sharer [newyorker.com]

Re:Article from the New Yorker (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396720)

Thanks for posting that link. I was upset as hell after reading it last week. Anyone who doesn't fully understand the gravity of this case should read the whole thing.

This ruling partially restores my hope that the US will return to the rule of law and respect for the bill of rights.

Maybe, maybe not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396140)

I was reading an article, I'm pretty sure it was on MSN, about this guy. It's not that there wasn't evidence, it was more that the prosecution felt that releasing the evidence (further classified information) was not something they were willing to do just to stick charges on him.

Re:Maybe, maybe not (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396284)

It's true that a few of the charges were dropped due to the prosecution not wanting to release classified information, but that was only after they dropped other charges (the ones related to his giving out the info) due to lack of evidence. And the few remaining charges were apparently too shaky for the prosecutors to take to trial.

agree (0)

patrickluwi (2209956) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396240)

agree with artor3 KVM Switch [gigantika.co.id]

Probably for the best... (0)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396242)

If they stuck him down he would have become more powerful than they could ever imagine.

Re:Probably for the best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396464)

"You can't win, Darth. If you stike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."

Now it's time I stuck out on my own. Goodbye.

Re:Probably for the best... (1)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396956)

If they stuck him down...

Pin the tail on the whistleblower?

What about the IT guy that NSA charged? (-1, Troll)

dotdotdotter (2251076) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396280)

Just a month ago there was a story about a guy that was charged with spying although he claims he just reported a bunch of security holes [aeonity.com]

Re:What about the IT guy that NSA charged? (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396312)

Don't click...it's a tarp. You have been warned.

Re:What about the IT guy that NSA charged? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396344)

My word, what is wrong with your anus? I'd get that checked out dotdotdotter.

Re:What about the IT guy that NSA charged? (1)

siglercm (6059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396402)

Note to /. system coders: Please enforce a goatse filter on newly opened user accounts. Yikes. dotdotdotter and dotfan are sockpuppets for the same goatse troll.

Innocent? (4, Insightful)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396368)

No one is reporting he is innocent. They reached a plea deal. The government dropped the 10 charges because a judge decided the prosecution would have to show classified material to the jury. Dropping the charges because you don't have enough evidence to make a case (i.e. without using classified material) is not the same as deciding he is innocent.

Re:Innocent? (5, Insightful)

Rijnzael (1294596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396426)

Yes it is; you're innocent until proven guilty, regardless of how much prosecutors, police, and the government don't want to believe it sometimes. If the government can't be burdened to prove that he's guilty, he's innocent.

Re:Innocent? (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396622)

Yes it is; you're innocent until proven guilty, regardless of how much prosecutors, police, and the government don't want to believe it sometimes. If the government can't be burdened to prove that he's guilty, he's innocent.

IANAL, but AFAIK 'innocent' is never used in the US Justice System. So, if the government fails to prove he's guilty, then he is not guilty.

Re:Innocent? (2)

InfiniteZero (587028) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396776)

> IANAL, but AFAIK 'innocent' is never used in the US Justice System. So, if the government fails to prove he's guilty, then he is not guilty.

Presumption of innocence [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Innocent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396818)

Oh burn!!

Re:Innocent? (2, Insightful)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396812)

Yes it is; you're innocent until proven guilty, regardless of how much prosecutors, police, and the government don't want to believe it sometimes. If the government can't be burdened to prove that he's guilty, he's innocent.

IANAL, but AFAIK 'innocent' is never used in the US Justice System. So, if the government fails to prove he's guilty, then he is not guilty.

With the US legal system isn't it guilty until proven rich? /stirring

Re:Innocent? (1)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396936)

IANAL, but AFAIK 'innocent' is never used in the US Justice System. So, if the government fails to prove he's guilty, then he is not guilty.

Just because the relevant legal minds were negative assholes doesn't mean everyone must be so. Let's just call him innocent and rejoice that there's still hope for our (my?) government.

Re:Innocent? (1)

Narcogen (666692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397166)

Yes it is; you're innocent until proven guilty, regardless of how much prosecutors, police, and the government don't want to believe it sometimes. If the government can't be burdened to prove that he's guilty, he's innocent.

IANAL, but AFAIK 'innocent' is never used in the US Justice System. So, if the government fails to prove he's guilty, then he is not guilty.

What terminology the government uses is only relevant when reporting what the government says.

No one here should report that the government has determined him to be innocent.

This is not because the only thing that may be reported about an alleged criminal is that either we know for sure he did it (guilty) or that we can't prove that he did it (not guilty) which underhandedly implies that maybe he did do it, but we can't prove it.

The reason why we don't report that courts find defendants innocent is because no one should need, in the United States, to be found innocent, because it is presumed.

Whether the justice system ever uses the word in its determinations is only relevant when reporting the determination. Once you report that the justice system has dropped the charges, or come to a determination of "not guilty" then any citizen may, combining that fact with the presumption of innocence, safely arrive at the factual statement that the person is innocent-- just not that this is the determination of the legal system. This is merely the individual's natural state in the absence of any finding to the contrary.

Re:Innocent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396432)

wow nice spin.

in other news, the government trying to move forward a case that has about as clear as exists constitutional defense for the lawsuit, in which it is the defendant who accepted the plea which the government gave up their ENTIRE CASE, you might want to look at what that means. Hint: doesn't mean he's not innocent, it means the government is incredibly afraid to set precedent and the defendant just wants the freakin case dropped, rightfully so.

Re:Innocent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396556)

Hint:

In the US, you are innocent unless proven guilty. Hence, he is innocent.

Re:Innocent? (1, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396462)

I'm going to assume you're from outside the United States in a place with a radically different judicial system or that you are from the US and have, unfortunaly, been subjected to the wholly sub-standard civics education we receive, here.

If you are not convicted of a crime in the court of law, you are innocent. Period.

Granted, The USAPATRIOT Act overrides this by allowing the president to essentially call this guy an enemy combatant and disappear him to Gitmo for some torture with no representation, ever, but that's a subversion of the justice system. (And, frankly, I'm surprised this wasn't done by the government - I can only assume that this was because they wanted to use him to set an example more than they wanted to make him vanish).

Re:Innocent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396578)

Well, actually you are PRESUMED innocent until proven guilty. But if you follow court cases they NEVER say you are innocent.

They ask you how do you want to plea. You say guilty or not guilty. (Though I'd LOVE to hear someone plea innocent.)

And at the end, they don't say you are innocent. They say you have been found not guilty. (Or, we just couldn't prove you did what you were accused of)

If you have EVER heard a judge say you are innocent, please tell me when that happened. (Really) Cause I never have.

Plea deals (2)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397046)

When agreeing to a plea bargain, you have to say not only that you agree to the bargain, but that you are doing so because you actually are guilty. This is coercing a lie from innocent people who simply can't risk adding to their jail time if they have a weak case.

Re:Innocent? (2)

Pretzalzz (577309) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397104)

Um, no. In the US courts of law never prove innocence. This should be trivially obvious to anyone since no one involved in the trial is even attempting to prove innocence. The prosecution is attempting to prove guilt; the defense is attempting to show that the prosecution's argument is flawed. If someone came up with a proof that P = NP. And you found a flaw in that proof. Would you then claim that you've proved that P != NP because you found a flaw in the proof?

Re:Innocent? (1)

Narcogen (666692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397132)

No one is reporting he is innocent. They reached a plea deal. The government dropped the 10 charges because a judge decided the prosecution would have to show classified material to the jury.

Dropping the charges because you don't have enough evidence to make a case (i.e. without using classified material) is not the same as deciding he is innocent.

One may report that he IS innocent because one is "presumed innocent" until "found guilty".

What one may not report (at least not conscientiously) is that he has been "found innocent" because that is not a determination that is made. It is not made because it does not need to be made, because of the same presumption. No one needs a judge or jury to return a finding of innocence, because it is presumed. The findings are "guilty" or "not guilty".

A person may be innocent. They are innocent because they are "found not guilty", but that is not the same as saying they were "found innocent". If charges or dropped, or a plea bargain is reached, they are also "innocent" for the same reason-- because absent a finding of "guilty" he is presumed innocent.

The headline does not say he was found innocent. It says he is innocent. Since he has not been found guilty of the original ten charges, because they were dropped as part of a plea bargain, the headline is accurate, because he is presumed innocent until found guilty.

Marry a Canadian and.. (0)

Kernel Krumpit (1912708) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396384)

Move. Fast!

Embarrassing People in Power is Not Wise (5, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396424)

If you shine a light on government waste, incompetence or malfeasance be prepared for the government to use its unlimited checkbook and unaccountable law enforcement types to make your life a living hell.

Re:Embarrassing People in Power is Not Wise (1)

lopaka1998 (1352441) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396928)

and your badge number is..........?

Re:Embarrassing People in Power is Not Wise (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397006)

That's one reason Britain still has a House of Lords. You can't bribe 'em and you can't "disappear" 'em. It's also why Britain keeps trying to get rid of said House and replace it with one that you CAN bribe or vanish. As imperfect as it is (it would be better if it were a true meritocratic House), it has prevented some of the more spectacular abuses of power seen elsewhere. Not all, sure. England has more CCTV cameras than people, they totally failed to prevent any of the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad abuses, and so on.

Nonetheless, the US' complete lack of any independent oversight or meritocratic branch is precisely why it was possible for the more gratuitous abuses to have taken place. Everyone in power needs to curry favour from everyone else in power far more than they need anything to actually work.

Decora's editing on wikipedia (2)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396442)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Thomas_Andrews_Drake [wikipedia.org] Notice that the wikipedia entry for Mr. Drake states that "he was found innocent" even though Decora has failed to provide a reference indicating of the judgement where the man was found innocent. Also notice in the "talk" section of the aforementioned wiki entry how other editors question the validity of the entries made by Decora, as well as the fact that the entries sound more like opinions of statements rather than facts.

Not that I have anything against Mr. Drake (and I applaud him for being a whistleblower), but there is nothing in the case that indicates a judgement of innocence. It is juvenile, subjective, and pretty much fucking stupid to use both wikipedia and ./ to pass an Op.Ed as a statement of historical fact.

Someone (Decora) who tell others to find their own references

you can find that in the various secondary sources im just too lazy to go re-reference them. i am going to edit and put back

in the wiki talk page when confronted with the lack of good reference materials, it someone I would take his words from with a grain of salt.

Re:Decora's editing on wikipedia (1)

siglercm (6059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396500)

OK, Wikipedia soapbox here. As I've said before and elsewhere, only someone who is, well, naive would believe that Wikipedia editors have a NPOV. Face it, they're not paid. Why then do all the hours of time-consuming work if they're not paid? Because they are paid, just not monetarily; they have a strong incentive to edit. Some do it altruistically, for the good of a community encyclopaedic resource. Others do it to promote a certain POV, namely, one with which they (strongly) agree. These editors are not neutral. From the evidence you present, decora evidently is one of these.

Re:Decora's editing on wikipedia (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396782)

US reaches plea deal in classified leaks case [yahoo.com] , Associated Press (as carried by Yahoo! News). From that story:

Thomas Drake will plead guilty to exceeding authorized use of a computer, a misdemeanor, and the government will drop 10 felony counts that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life, according to court documents. In return, prosecutors say they won't oppose a sentence that spares the 54-year-old Maryland man a prison term.

In summation:

  • Exceeding authorized use of a computer: guilty.
  • All other charges: dropped.
  • Jail time: unlikely.

I'd find a .gov source for you, but I don't know where to look.

thank you, wiki has been edited, however. (4, Informative)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396790)

I edited wikipedia , to make it hopefully much more neutral. Thanks for the tip.

As for the slashdot story, I believe that Thomas Drake's innocence is not opinion. I believe that it is a fact. If you have 10 counts against you, and they are all dropped, then you are innocent of them. Several readers have pointed this follows from the 'innocent until proven guilty' meme (which i hadn't thought of, but is a good argument...) do you disagree? Just because I am biased does not mean I am factually wrong, does it?

I believe the slashdot headline compares favorably in accurate to the other mainstream news headlines that are currently crowding around cyberspace.

The other headlines on other news sites typically say something like "NSA Leak case reaches plea deal", or "NSA spy espionage case pleads out" or "Spy-Agency Leaker pleads guilty to lesser charge" or "classified leak case reaches bargain" or whatever.

Many of these statments are misleading, or flat out wrong, and most of them imply things that are factually incorrect. Thomas Drake was never, ever, not even once, charged with 'leaking'. There is no law against 'leaking'. There are several laws covering 'disclosure' or 'delivery' of information, but he was not charged with one of those laws either. Why? Because they had no good evidence that he ever delivered any classified information to anyone. He specifically took precautions against divulging classified information to anyone - that was part of his agreement with Gorman of the Baltimore Sun - that he wouldn't give her any information.

Now, the DOJ indictment of him contains a lot of statements about 'giving classified information to a reporter', but when they actually brought criminal charges, none of those charges was for 'leaking' or 'disclosure' or 'delivery' of information. A statement is a totally different thing from a charge. Thus, any headline that says he was 'charged with leaking' or 'charged with disclosure' is misleading at best and flat out wrong at worst.

As for this word 'classified', it is also wrong. The Espionage Act 793(e) does not even use the word 'classified', it uses the phrase "national defense information". This is an important distinction, because only a jury can decide if a defendant's information counted as 'national defense information'. And this typically refers to serious military stuff, like diagrams of ships or something - that is what the law was refering to when Congress created it in 1917, and when Congress created its forefather the Defense Secrets Act in 1911, and what Congress intended when it amended the Espionage Act in 1950. And as Schmidt and Edgar point out in their famous 1973 Columbia Law article, Congress has repeatedly refused or failed to blanketly criminalize the posession or delivery of classified information - as Elsea points out in her 2010 CRS article, there is a 'patchwork' of laws, because Congress itself, and the President, love to leak classified information to the media. Thus, every headline that uses the word 'charged with leaking classified info' in relation to Drake's case is factually incorrect. He was never, not even once, charged with any law that contains the word 'classified' anywhere in it.

Again, the indictment makes a lot of statements about 'giving classified information to a reporter' (Which the judge ruled there was no evidence of). Even the headline of the DOJ news release might say things about 'classified information'. It is not my fault that the DOJ lawyers cannot read the Espionage Act. And again, a statement in an indcitment is a totally different thing from a criminal charge.

Lastly I'd like to cover the implications, the sort of tone and demeanor, of the language of the many articles floating around the web.

They seem to imply the story here is that a 'leaker' had to 'plead to a lesser charge'. That is utterly misleading. Another view of the story, one that I believe will be in the history books, is that the government, after a case that started when Bush demanded the FBI find the NSA wiretap leakers in 2005, after 6 years, after unprecedent usage of the CIPA and the Silent Witness Rule, after harassement and raids of Drake's associates and friends, after the first ever Espionage Act charges against someone for being part of an Inspector General Report, after Obama's DOJ has charged more people with Espionage Act for non-spy activity than any president in history (unless you count the 1919 Palmer Raids when the Sedition Act was still a part of the Espionage Act), it has all ended with basically nothing. That is a story that I believe is just as important and valid as the 'some naughty guy plead to a lesser charge' story. I believe the latter implication is an injustice to reality, but that is the headline we see over and over at many other news sites.

In the case of this slashdot story, where have I erred? Your critique appears to be of the word 'innocent', but I do not understand the problem, as I have described in the intro to this little comment of mine. What is the matter?

Re:thank you, wiki has been edited, however. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397110)

Did you even read the fucking decision? The case was dropped because the prosecutor was unwilling to provide the evidence, which is classified. The charges were dropped. This is very different than being found not guilty. The odds are very high that he's guilty, but it's much more dangerous in the short term to compromise the information he tried to compromise than it is to prosecute him. Drake is a dangerous right-wing nut job.

Re:thank you, wiki has been edited, however. (1)

Pretzalzz (577309) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397142)

Suppose for the sake of argument that there is a murder, and no one is ever charged with the crime for lack of evidence[though there is no doubt that there was in fact a murder]. Does this mean that everyone is innocent of murder? This seems impossible. Someone logically must be guilty. And yet that[that no one is guilty] seems to be precisely what you are arguing.

Biased summary? (-1)

shellster_dude (1261444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396536)

Why is the article treating this guy like some sort of innocent? If he is indeed innocent of passing classified information, then I'm glad justice did not miscarry. If he did indeed pass the data, he isn't a hero, he is most likely a traitor, or at the very least guilty of espionage, wire fraud, or some other similar charge. That makes him an enemy of the US.

Re:Biased summary? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396604)

Oh, dude. You stated a harsh truth. 'Round these parts, that's a killin' offense....

Re:Biased summary? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396614)

Sure. A traitor for revealing NSA warrantless wiretapping to us.

Re:Biased summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396792)

"Why is the article treating this guy like some sort of innocent? "

Maybe you ought to get off your lazy ass and do some research, and then you would
know why, you cretin.

Re:Biased summary? (1)

Atomic Fro (150394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396832)

"Truth is treason in the empire of lies." -- Ron Paul

Re:Biased summary? (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396958)

Treason is very difficult to prove. Drake wasn't even charged with Treason. Espionage is less difficult to prove, but the government lacked compelling evidence for those charge as well. And so on it it went, down the line, until what was left was "unauthorized use of a computer". I suppose that if "ex post facto laws" were not unconstitutional, the feds might have been able to invent the crime of "similar to espionage", but they can't.

According to the US Government, Drake is neither a spy, nor a traitor.

Re:Biased summary? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397116)

If he did indeed pass the data, he isn't a hero, he is most likely a traitor, or at the very least guilty of espionage, wire fraud, or some other similar charge. That makes him an enemy of the US.

So there's no place for whistle-blowers in your world?

Sure he may have done the things you mention (though the courts didn't find proof), but to expose the largest, most blatant illegal wiretapping operation EVER, it was worth it ("public interest" and all that).

Though, it is interesting to note, that the government gave themselves a "get out of jail free card" for this operation (see FISA 2008 [wikipedia.org] ) but apparently this guy wasn't included in their alternate reality where spying isn't bad.

I can't wait for January 20 (1, Funny)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396610)

When we'll finally have Bushitler out of the White House!

He should never have gone to trial! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396628)

This is a big fat witch hunt by bureaucrats with too much ego and power at their disposal. There (was) a good complete article on this complete story over at the New Yorker [newyorker.com] . Short recap: the NSA has had running for a number of years a project called Echelon which sucks in every bit of email, cell phone, satellite and any other type of electronic communication and tries to process in (they called all the electronic eavesdropping "total information awareness") --Carnivore and Omnivore installations at AT&T sites are part of this--. Now this left them with a great big haystack and finding needles turned into a big pain. One crypt analyst came up with a solution and called it 'thin thread'. It was rejected by the current bureaucracy because they had another project already underway called trailblazer. So this 'thin thread' project was on the shelf. People got re-assigned and it time passed. Trailblazer failed after a few years and a few hundred million dollars. Thin thread was pulled off the shelf, but since the original team had already been reassigned, new people were working on it. Some careful controls that limits spying on Americans was built into the original version. The powers that be went out of their way to spy on Americans (even though thats not part of the NSA mandate, and illegal). The original developers protesters complained, then left. The witch hunt that followed is part the Thomas Drake trial. ---sorry for the long blurb, the New Yorker piece is 10 pages, and there is a lot of dirt I left out--,
Sincerely (hello you NSA people!),
Anonymous Coward.

For once (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396848)

I'm relieved.

The fact that this is such a news and a relief in this country, I'm deeply worried.

But for now, thank you Mr. Drake. You will not be forgotten.

Standoff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397010)

Thomas Drake has a lot of stuff in his head. The state has a lot of power to make his life miserable. Right now, it's a standoff. He's let go, for now, and well into the future - when no one is looking anymore - he'll have an accident. Poor guy.
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