NSA Whistelblower Identified

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

The person who tipped off New York Times reporters Eric Lichtblau and James Risen about the illegal wiretapping of US citizens has come forward with his story in Newsweek. His name is Thomas Tamm.

At the time, Tamm was working in the Justice Department and was troubled by what he learned what was going on at NSA.

Tamm agonized over what to do. He tried to raise the issue with a former colleague working for the Senate Judiciary Committee. But the friend, wary of discussing what sounded like government secrets, shut down their conversation. For weeks, Tamm couldn’t sleep. The idea of lawlessness at the Justice Department angered him. Finally, one day during his lunch hour, Tamm ducked into a subway station near the U.S. District Courthouse on Pennsylvania Avenue. He headed for a pair of adjoining pay phones partially concealed by large, illuminated Metro maps. Tamm had been eyeing the phone booths on his way to work in the morning. Now, as he slipped through the parade of midday subway riders, his heart was pounding, his body trembling. Tamm felt like a spy. After looking around to make sure nobody was watching, he picked up a phone and called The New York Times.

This man, who in a country that valued justice would be a hero, is not being treated as such.

The FBI has pursued him relentlessly for the past two and a half years. Agents have raided his house, hauled away personal possessions and grilled his wife, a teenage daughter and a grown son. More recently, they’ve been questioning Tamm’s friends and associates about nearly every aspect of his life. Tamm has resisted pressure to plead to a felony for divulging classified information. But he is living under a pall, never sure if or when federal agents might arrest him.

I hope you’ll go read the whole article at Newsweek. This man is no saint. But he does deserve our respect and gratitude.

“I thought this [secret program] was something the other branches of the government-and the public-ought to know about. So they could decide: do they want this massive spying program to be taking place?” Tamm told NEWSWEEK, in one of a series of recent interviews that he granted against the advice of his lawyers. “If somebody were to say, who am I to do that? I would say, ‘I had taken an oath to uphold the Constitution.’ It’s stunning that somebody higher up the chain of command didn’t speak up.”

Yes Mr. Tamm, its stunning. The whole thing is stunning. But as a nation, we are grateful for your integrity and courage.


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  1. you’ll all join me in saying a bit THANK YOU to Thomas Tamm!!!

    • Edger on December 15, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    telling the truth is a felony, and being a crook gets you rewarded with millions by the government?

  2. I did need a cell phone the battery was dead.

    It was a brand new phone.

    It had been on the charger all night just because we knew we would need it.

    Seabrook NH Radio Shack $19.95 1 12V car charger.

    Can’t say it was but the battery was dead.


  3. …chasing my obsession du jour…is it rebellion or revolution?  They may crush him like a bug, yet; and the sole lasting impact of his actions is to inform other people who may act from conscience, who have reached their limit, that they are not alone.  

    You can argue that throwing shoes and acting as a whistleblower are completely different categories of action, of course; though per The Dog’s comment above, they will attract similar critique.  Every authentic action against authority breaks some venerable rule.

    A big thank you, definitely.  But also just real glad people like him still exist and are not completely whitewashed out of government and power.

    • pico on December 16, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Nevertheless, [Tamm] began blogging about the Justice Department for liberal Web sites.

    The timeline places this between 2006-7.  Any guesses who and where this might have been?

  4. just announced that she’s got the first tv interview with Tamm coming up on her show tonight.

  5. had better things to occupy their time than persecuting civil servants who are risking their careers in order to prevent illegality and corruption in their agencies?

    But then again, maybe that explains why crime is running rampant on Wall St. as well as in Congress and the Administration.  Also, it explains why scams like this keep happening because the FBI apparently prefers harrassing law abiding whistleblowers rather than the criminals and parasites victimizing people worldwide.  I know someone who was scammed for thousands–not one of the more obvious scams.  When this person tried to get the FBI to follow up, he was told that they really don’t get very involved in individual crimes like that, involving less than $50,000.  Apparently, like all government agencies, their resources are limited, and their priority seems to be in intimidating government employees to shut them up rather than to catch criminals.

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