By Morgan Watkins | June 7th, 2011
Public, WaPo stick up for whistleblower Thomas Drake
National Security Administration whistleblower Thomas Drake goes to court next week, but he isn’t without public support for his actions.
Drake is facing charges of violating the Espionage Act of 1917. According to prosecutors, he willfully retained classified documents that he had promised to protect.
Drake provided unclassified but important information to a Baltimore Sun reporter about wasteful spending and other problems in the NSA, which led to his indictment. He faces up to 35 years in prison.
The Washington Post published an editorial Sunday that echoed the concerns of various whistleblower supporters. The central question in the Drake case, at least for the WaPo editorial board, is whether the court case is an overkill response to Drake’s actions.
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) showed support for Drake on June 3, presenting a petition to Attorney General Eric Holder and the House of Representatives and Senate Judiciary Committees urging the Department of Justice to drop the case against Drake.
Nigeria FOI law to strengthen transparency of extractive industry
The country’s new FOI law, recently signed by President Goodluck Jonathan, should boost transparency in the extractive industry.
The operations of the industry’s revenue collection agencies and oil companies can be very secretive, but there is a push toward open access that the new law can strengthen.
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) aims to improve openness among industry companies, especially with respect to their revenue disclosures. Its Executive Secretary, Zainab Ahmed, said the FOI act complemented the NEITI Act of 2007 that created the initiative.
With the implementation of the FOI law, as well as NEITI, Nigeria is moving forward with its goal of improving transparency throughout the nation – both in the government and in the economic sector as well.
– Morgan Watkins
Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (email@example.com) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).