Federal judge probes destruction of evidence in prosecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake

Thomas Drake

Thomas Drake

A federal judge is investigating charges that the United States government may have illegally destroyed possible evidence during the high-profile media leak investigation of National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake.

McClatchy reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Gallagher launched her inquiry after Drake's lawyers in April accused the Pentagon inspector general's office of destroying documents during Drake's criminal prosecution. The case against Drake ended almost four years ago.

From McClatchy's coverage:

In a May 13 letter, Gallagher told Justice Department lawyers that the judge who had presided over the case asked her to evaluate the allegations from Drake's lawyers "for further investigation and to make recommendations as to whether any action by the court is warranted or appropriate."

The allegations raise new questions about a prosecution that had been excoriated by the presiding judge after the Justice Department's case against Drake unraveled and resulted in the former senior NSA official pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

As a result of the controversial prosecution, Drake became a symbol of the dangers whistleblowers can face when they help the media, Congress and government watchdogs investigate wrongdoing at intelligence agencies.

"Judge probes destruction of evidence in NSA leak prosecution" [mcclatchydc.com]