A Moscow soiree for US whistleblowers

Posted by Hannah Allam on October 10, 2013 

When the Russian government agreed to shelter U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden, one of the conditions was that he was to keep a low profile and refrain from further publicizing his revelations about the NSA's sweeping surveillance programs.

Apparently that condition was relaxed a bit this week as Moscow played host to a group of American whistleblowers and activists for a soiree Wednesday at which Snowden was presented with a Sam Adams Award for "Integrity in Intelligence." The award is named after a CIA whistleblower during the Vietnam War.

The guest list read like a Who's Who of the nation's most famous - infamous? - whistleblowers. They may be social pariahs in some DC circles, but the following were in attendance at the Moscow shindig:

Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent who revealed how internal problems in the FBI had led to the mishandling of information related to the September 11, 2001, attacks. She was named Time's Person of the Year in 2002, along with two other women whistleblowers.

Thomas Drake, a former senior official at the NSA who disclosed large-scale waste, fraud and abuse at the agency, especially about a dubious intelligence-collection program called Trailblazer, which the government later deemed a failure that had cost taxpayers $1 billion.

Jesselyn Radack, a former ethics adviser to the Department of Justice who said that the FBI had committed a violation by interrogating the so-called "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh without an attorney present, and that DoJ had tried to suppress the information.

Ray McGovern, a CIA officer for nearly three decades who presented the morning intelligence briefings at the White House for many years and who was a vocal critic of the government's handling of the Wen Ho Lee case in 2000 and of the faulty intelligence the Bush administration relied on in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

Here's a Getty Images pic of the group.

Meanwhile, Snowden's father, Lon Snowden, arrived in Moscow today in hopes of seeing his son, with whom he's reportedly been out of contact since June. Snowden is living at an undisclosed location in Russia. The whistleblowers who met with him at the award reception Wednesday told reporters he looked good and had no regrets for his actions.

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