Ex-NSA worker charged in leaks case wins $10,000 prize

April 13, 2011|By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun

A former National Security Agency employee was awarded a $10,000 whistleblower's prize by the Fertel Foundation and the Nation Institute a year after he was accused of mishandling classified information by the federal government.

Thomas Drake, 53, who lives in Howard County, was awarded the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling at a ceremony Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

The website for The Nation Institute describes the prize as recognition for "acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice or illuminate a more just vision of society." The prized was named for investigative journalist Ron Ridenhour.

"I did what I did because I am rooted in the faith that my duty was to the American people," Drake said in a statement to The Nation.

Drake was indicted in April 2010 under the Espionage Act on five charges of retaining classified information to give to a Baltimore Sun reporter, one charge of obstructing justice and four charges of making a false statement to the FBI. He's scheduled for trial in June.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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