John Kiriakou; and Thomas Drake are both former U.S. Govt. officials who were prosecuted and had their lives damaged for supposedly mishandling sensitive records. Each of them are accusing the Obama administration of a “double-standard” because the Administration is leaving Hillary Clinton alone.
According to Fox News,the Obama Administration has charged more people under the Espionage Act, a World War I-era law once used to go after major breaches, than any other in history.
“It’s a double standard,” said John Kiriakou, a former CIA counter-terrorism operative who spent two years in federal prison and three additional months under house arrest this year for leaking the name of a covert CIA official involved in “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
Clinton is not accused of leaking. But Kiriakou like Hillary was accused of mishandling classified information. He sees different treatment for the presumptive Democratic nominee who led the State Department.
“The FBI is going to investigate [Hillary Clinton], but it is not up to them,” he told FoxNews.com.
“If they [the FBI] want to charge Hillary Clinton with a crime, they can certainly find a crime with which to charge her,” he added. “But there is no way the Obama administration is going to prosecute her. No way.”
Thomas Drake is a former NSA official who was prosecuted for mishandling classified information though his only “crime was being a whistle blower. Mr. Drake saw mass waste and abuse in the billions of dollars spent on an NSA project, Operation Stellar Wind. He took his concerns through channels, first to his superiors at NSA, to Congress and to the NSA, and Department of Defense Inspectors General (DoD IG). Instead of welcoming his dedication, Drake’s management destroyed his career by removing his responsibilities and shifting him to a meaningless position. He was increasingly isolated, singled-out, transferred away from projects, and marginalized. After his cooperation with DoD IG, which validated his concerns, Drake became the target of a “leak” investigation related to the infamous NSA warrantless wiretapping scandal–despite the fact that he had nothing to do with the “leak.”
“I got hammered good,” Drake told FoxNews.com.
Though the government’s Espionage Act case against him fell apart in 2011, Drake practically lost everything and faced a mountain of legal bills. He pleaded to a single misdemeanor for “exceeding authorized use of a government computer,” a violation he compares to “spitting on the NSA sidewalk.”
“I think [Clinton] is vulnerable, but whether she enjoys what I call ‘elite immunity,’ we don’t know,” he said. “For much lesser violations people have lost their jobs. But when you get to the higher ranks, it’s like another set of rules.”
Since Obama took office in 2009, seven people have been charged under the Espionage Act — all for leaking classified or sensitive information. Five — Kiriakou, Shamai Leibowitz, Chelsea (previously Bradley) Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, and former State Department official Stephen Kim — got jail time.
Kim pleaded guilty in 2014 to disclosing a classified report on North Korea to Fox News reporter James Rosen. That was the case where the former AG Eric Holder wiretapped Rosen’s parents. His lawyer said the information at issue “was less sensitive or surprising than much of what we read in the newspaper every day.” He did 13 months in prison. Sterling was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in May for revealing classified information about the CIA’s effort to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program to journalist James Risen.
While the FBI has seized Clinton’s server, and the thumb drive from her lawyer, many feel that the Administration will pressure the FBI and the Intelligence IG to leave Clinton alone.
In his case, Kiriakou was charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, two counts of espionage, and making false statements to the CIA Publications Review Board when writing his book, “The Reluctant Spy.” All but the first charge were dropped. He pleaded guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence. But his wife, a top CIA officer, was pushed out of her job. With three children at home, the family went on welfare while Kiriakou was in prison, and fundraisers helped pay the mortgage on their Arlington, Va., home.
To this day, his lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, insists the name of the agent was already well known among the media and human rights community and was never published. Radack told FoxNews.com the Clinton case is “certainly indicative of the hypocritical double standard in Espionage Act prosecutions brought against low-level employee versus politically-connected people.” She also lamented “over-classification” and called the Espionage Act an “ill-fitting tool” in these cases.
Despite no treating classified information securely Hillary Clinton is traveling the country as she runs for the office of President, “Drake, on the other hand, now works at an Apple Store. ‘They aren’t going to treat [Clinton] the same way I was treated for sure,’ he said.”