NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been honored with a prestigious truth-telling award by a group of former national security officials.
Consortium News reports Snowden was awarded the Sam Adams Award by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, a group of former CIA and other intelligence officials. According to Consortium News:
Most of the Sam Adams Associates are former senior national security officials who, with the other members, understand fully the need to keep legitimate secrets. Each of the US members took a solemn oath “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Thomas Drake, former senior NSA executive and a 2011 Sam Adams Award winner, hailed Snowden’s “amazingly brave act of civil disobedience.” Drake, who is also a decorated Air Force and Navy veteran, was charged under the Espionage Act for challenging the Trailblazer Project, a classified NSA program which according to the Government Accountability Project “sacrificed Americans’ security and privacy and was laden with massive waste.” Drake was exonerated of all 10 felony charges against him. He ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of ‘exceeding authorized use of a government computer’; the judge who presided over the case blasted the prosecution’s attacks on him as “unconscionable.”
The Sam Adams Award is named in honor of CIA analyst Sam Adams (1934-1988), who is best known for discovering in 1967 that the US was intentionally undercounting the number of Vietnamese communist fighters in order to present a false facade of ‘progress’ in the ill-fated war in Southeast Asia.
Sam Adams Associates was founded in 2002 “to recognize those who uphold his (Adams’) example as a model for those in intelligence who would aspire to the courage to speak truth to power,” according to Consortium News.
Past winners of the Sam Adams Award are:
2002- FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley, whose excoriating letter to her boss, FBI Director Robert Mueller, detailed how the Bureau had mishandled and failed to act upon an internal memo regarding the investigation of suspected 9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui.
2003- British intelligence (GCHQ) translator Katherine Gunn, who leaked top-secret information to the media concerning illegal US activities during the Bush administration’s push for war in Iraq.
2004- FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds was fired from her job as a language specialist after she accused Bureau officials of ignoring intelligence pointing to al-Qaeda attacks against the United States, as well as other security breaches and official misconduct and illicit activity committed by foreign nationals. Edmonds was prevented from telling what she knew by Bush’s Justice Department, which invoked the so-called ‘state secrets privilege.’
2005- Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray was relieved of his post after shining light on horrific human rights abuses by the regime of dictator Islam Karimov. But Karimov is a valued US and British ally because he has opened resource-rich Uzbekistan to foreign corporations and has allowed NATO troops to use his country to transport war materials overland into Afghanistan via the Northern Distribution Network. According to classified US government documents released by Wikileaks in 2010, Washington chose to ignore corruption, torture and slavery in Uzbekistan in order to gain Karimov’s favor.
2006- US Army military intelligence Sgt. Samuel Provance disobeyed commanders’ orders and blew the whistle on some of the horrific abuses committed by US troops at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. In 2006, Provance testified before Congress that military intelligence soldiers and private contractors tortured detainees (the majority of whom were innocent, according to US Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba) and ordered military police to do likewise.
2007- Australian intelligence official Andrew Wilkie resigned from his job, citing concerns that intelligence was being exaggerated and manipulated in order to make the case for Australian involvement in the 2003 US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.
2008- Danish military intelligence officer Maj. Frank Grevil blew the whistle on the official Danish government assertion that Iraq under Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE), Danish military intelligence, concluded that there was no certain information that Iraq indeed possessed such weapons.
2009- Lawrence Wilkerson, a former US Army colonel and chief of staff to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, was a vocal critic of the Iraq war. He also publicly asserted that the majority of men and boys detained in the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay were innocent and that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney knew this but decided to keep them locked up for political reasons.
2010- Wikileaks founder Julian Assange published classified US military and diplomatic documents revealing, among many other things, American and allied war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the so-called Iraq and Afghan War Logs. Many of the files were transmitted by US Army whistleblower Bradley Manning, who was tortured and imprisoned by the US military and who is now being court-martialed for ‘aiding the enemy’ and other crimes at Ft. Meade, Maryland. Assange, who is wanted in Sweden and the UK, is currently holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
2011- You’ve already read about NSA whistelblower Thomas Drake earlier in this post. Drake was a co-winner, along with Jesselyn Radack, an ethics adviser to the US Justice Department turned whistleblower who revealed that the FBI committed ethics violations during the interrogation of ‘American Taliban’ fighter John Walker Lindh.
2012- Stanford University Professor Thomas Fingar was a deputy director of national intelligence during the Bush administration. It was in that capacity that he supervised preparation of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the consensus of all 16 US intelligence agencies, which concluded that Iran stopped trying to develop nuclear weapons in 2003.
Source: Digital Journal