Diane S. Roark, former senior staffer on the House Intelligence Committee who opposed illegal domestic surveillance, has sued to stop retaliation and smears. Roark spent 5 years as the designated staffer overseeing the National Security Agency, and wasn’t popular at NSA because she believes in the Fourth Amendment and the important role of Congress in overseeing federal agencies. We begin with her recent lawsuit seeking to recover a computer and documents that were taken in an FBI raid in 2007 related to the retaliatory prosecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake. While Roark has never been charged, she has often been smeared for leaking the wiretap program to the New York Times and Baltimore Sun. She flatly denies ever leaking classified information, and points out that it would’ve been a crazy thing to do, since key players in Congress, at NSA and the White House all knew of her opposition to unconstitutional wiretapping, and to the wasting of billions of dollars on software that didn’t work and explicitly did not protect our rights. In 2002, she wrote memos to Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) alerting them to the massive interception of domestic communications, contradicting Pelosi’s assertion in 2005 that she was not informed. Roark comments on the revelations of Russell Tice (ex-NSA) and Mark Klein (AT&T tech who revealed the intercept installed in San Francisco), and gives important background to the efforts to intimidate Tom Drake into pleading guilty; when Drake refused, the government’s ridiculous case collapsed. Roark is alarmed and disappointed that that our elected leaders and so many Americans show no concern about the major loss of our rights under Bush and Obama, and says that the domestic wiretapping program is “wrong and unnecessary”.
On the same day we spoke to Diane Roark, the Daily Show aired a segment with Tom Drake, reported by Jason Jones. It gets a little cheesy at times, but delivers important messages about surveillance and whistleblowers. Watch the video here.