Do Whistleblower Protections Work? Ask This One.

A whistleblower case from 2010 reveals the peril faced by whistleblowers seeking to expose wrongdoing.

The government employee at the center of the first impeachment inquiry of President Trump showed the power of whistleblower disclosures. But a case from 2010 reveals the peril faced by those seeking to expose wrongdoing. Thomas Drake, a National Security Agency executive, attempted to report what he regarded as wasteful practices and warrantless spying on American citizens. His complaints were ignored, and despite a law meant to protect whistleblowers, the Justice Department issued a felony indictment against him. The case against Drake eventually fell apart, but by that time he was broke, his marriage had suffered, and he was ostracized. “He was kryptonite,” his defense lawyer said.

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  • Producer: Kit R. Roane
  • Producer: Victor Couto
  • Editor: Heru Muharrar
  • Additional Producer: Peter Klein