Thomas Drake is a former senior executive and technical director for software engineering at the National Security Agency, where he blew the whistle on massive multi-billion dollar fraud, waste and abuse, the failure of 9/11, as well as the widespread violations of the rights of citizens through secret mass surveillance programs after 9/11.
He is the recipient of the 2011 Ridenhour Truth Telling Prize, and a joint recipient with Jesselyn Radack of the 2011 Sam Adams Associates Integrity in Intelligence Award and the 2012 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award.
As a material witness he provided documented evidence for two 9/11 congressional investigations and a Department of Defence IG audit and investigation over several years before going to the press with what he knew.
Starting in 2006, Drake was targeted under a massive criminal investigation launched in late 2005 by the Department of Justice and experienced extensive electronic and physical surveillance. As retaliation and reprisal, the Obama administration indicted Drake in 2010 as the first whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg charged with espionage, facing 35 years in prison and turning him into an Enemy of the State for his oath to support and defend the US Constitution.
In 2011, the government’s case against him collapsed and he went free in a plea deal when the 10 felony counts were dropped in exchange for a misdemeanour under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for exceeding authorised use of a government computer with no jail time or fine.
He was also a visiting professor of behavioural science, teaching strategic leadership and information strategies at the National Defence University with the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
In a previous industry career, Drake was a certified software test engineer engaged in specialised code analysis, software archaeology, security, team dynamics, agile coding practice and development as well as IT, systems and software management. His first computer was an eight-bit Atari 800.
He is now dedicated to the defence of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.