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April 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Ex-National Security Agency Official Indicted on Charges of Leaking Info to Baltimore Sun Reporter

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — An ex-high ranking National Security Agency official has been charged with allegedly leaking classified information to a national newspaper in 2006 and 2007, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Authorities indicted  Thomas A. Drake, 52, who headed an office in the NSA’s signals intelligence and engineering directorates at Fort Meade between 2001 and 2005,  on charges that he served as a source for a number of articles — some which contained classified information .

The indictment does not name the reporter, but The Washington Post reported that it was Siobhan Gorman, a prize-winning intelligence correspondent for the Baltimore Sun at the time She now works for the Wall Street Journal. The articles were critical of the NSA.

According to the Justice Department press release,  Drake took a number of steps to accommodate the reporter including:

  • Exchanging hundreds of e-mails with and meeting with the reporter;
  • Researching stories for the reporter to write in the future by e-mailing unwitting NSA employees and accessing classified and unclassified documents on classified NSA networks;
  • Copying and pasting classified and unclassified information from NSA documents into untitled word processing documents which, when printed, had the classification markings removed;
  • Printing both classified and unclassified documents, bringing them to his home, and retaining them there without authority;
  • Scanning and emailing electronic copies of classified and unclassified documents to the reporter from his home computer; and
  • Reviewing, commenting on, and editing drafts of the reporter’s articles.

The press release went on to say:

“The indictment alleges that in approximately November 2005, a former congressional staffer asked Drake to speak with a reporter. Between November 2005 and February 2006, according to the indictment, Drake signed up for a free account and then paid for a premium account with an e-mail service that enabled its users to exchange secure e-mails without disclosing the sender or recipient’s identity.”

“Using an alias, Drake allegedly then contacted the reporter and volunteered to disclose information about the NSA. The indictment alleges that Drake directed the reporter to create the reporter’s own secure e-mail account.”

“After the reporter created such an account, Drake also allegedly required the reporter to agree to certain conditions, including never revealing Drake’s identity; attributing information gathered from Drake to a “senior intelligence official”; never using Drake as a single source for information; never telling Drake who the reporter’s other sources were; and not commenting on what people, to whom Drake recommended the reporter speak, said to the reporter.”

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