While the prosecution is ostensibly unrelated to the exposure of the NSA's secret surveillance program under Bush (a program perhaps not entirely dismantled under the Obama administration), the political connections appear impossible to dismiss. Drake faces ten felony counts. The New York Times commented that the newspaper articles that followed from Drake's leaks "documented government failures and weaknesses, [and] the decision to prosecute could raise questions about whether the government is merely moving to protect itself from legitimate public scrutiny."
Raise questions? I'd say the intent is quite clear.
See the coverage by Jason Leopold at Truthout:
A former senior National Security Agency (NSA) official was indicted Thursday on charges he leaked classified information to and served as a source for a reporter who wrote a series of critical articles about the agency's work.See also Glenn Greenwald's post on the Drake indictment, What the whistleblower prosecution says about the Obama DOJ (H/T Jim White at The Seminal):
The indictment "suggests the Obama administration may be no less aggressive than the Bush administration in pursuing whistleblowers and reporters’ sources who disclose government secrets," the New York Times noted....
The Obama administration’s decision to prosecute Drake will have a chilling impact on whistleblowers, said Lucy Danglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
The more I think and read about the Obama DOJ's prosecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, the more I think this might actually be one of the worst steps the Obama administration has taken yet, if not the single worst step -- and that's obviously saying a lot. During the Bush years, in the wake of the NSA scandal, I used to write post after post about how warped and dangerous it was that the Bush DOJ was protecting the people who criminally spied on Americans (Bush, Cheney Michael Hayden) while simultaneously threatening to prosecute the whistle-blowers who exposed misconduct. But the Bush DOJ never actually followed through on those menacing threats; no NSA whistle-blowers were indicted during Bush's term (though several were threatened). It took the election of Barack Obama for that to happen, as his handpicked Assistant Attorney General publicly boasted yesterday of the indictment against Drake....
Drake's leaks to Gorman exposed serious wrongdoing on the part of (a) the NSA and its illegal domestic spying activities and (b) the vast private intelligence and defense industry that has all but formally merged with the CIA, NSA and Pentagon to become the public-private National Security and Surveillance State that exercises more power, by far, than any single faction in the country.