GAP client & NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake testifying before the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on September 30, 2013. The Committee has designated an inquiry into NSA Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens.
“The words of US Senator Frank Church during the hearings he conducted on the abuses of national security power in the 1970s are worthy of reminding us what can happen when a state sponsored surveillance regime is used as the excuse to keep us safe at the expense of liberty and freedom.”
“If a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of government to know.
Such is the capacity of technology.”
‘I respectfully suggest that your Committee duly examine the critical need for transparency and legal accountability to enforce fundamental and vitally precious citizen rights to speech and association while protecting those who expose government malfeasance and wrongdoing as well as providing for robust protections against unwarranted “search and seizure” by any foreign power, state surveillance agency or corporate entity.”
Thomas Drake 30 September 2013 – Full transcript of his speech here
About Thomas Drake:
Thomas Andrews Drake (born 1957) is a former senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, and a whistleblower. In 2010 the government alleged that Drake “mishandled” documents, one of the few such Espionage Act cases in U.S. history. Drake’s defenders claim that he was instead being persecuted for challenging the Trailblazer Project. He is the 2011 recipient of the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling and co-recipient of the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) award.
On June 9, 2011, all 10 original charges against him were dropped. Drake rejected several deals because he refused to “plea bargain with the truth”. He eventually pled to one misdemeanor count for exceeding authorized use of a computer; Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, who helped represent him, called it an act of “civil disobedience.”