NSA Watchdog Removed for Whistleblower Retaliation
by Adam Zagorin
Posted December 18, 2016
Until just a few months ago, George Ellard occupied a position of trust as top watchdog of the National Security Agency, America’s principal collector of signals intelligence. Ellard was not only NSA’s Inspector General, but an outspoken critic of Edward Snowden, the former contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified emails to publicly expose the agency’s domestic surveillance program.
Snowden claimed, among other things, that his concerns about NSA’s domestic eavesdropping were ignored by the agency, and that he feared retaliation. Ellard publicly argued in 2014 that Snowden could have safely reported the allegations of NSA’s domestic surveillance directly to him.
Snowden himself has explicitly contended that he feared retaliation and that he had no other option but to go public if he wished to expose NSA domestic eavesdropping. Among the cases of retaliation that Snowden has pointed to is that of former senior NSA employee Thomas Drake, who after reporting alleged wrongdoing through authorized channels, was arrested at dawn by the FBI, stripped of his security clearance, charged with crimes under the Espionage Act, all of which were later dropped, leaving him to find work in an Apple store. More…