Another Word on Diane Roark and Intelligence Oversight

A January 31 Secrecy News item on “Diane Roark and the Drama of Intelligence Oversight” focused on the personal friction and hostility that are sometimes generated by the intelligence oversight process.  Unfortunately, what I wrote did an injustice to Ms. Roark, the former House Intelligence Committee staffer, and to Thomas Drake, the former National Security Agency official, as well as to the larger issues involved.

I should have made it clear that I do not endorse the criticism of Ms. Roark that was expressed by Barbara McNamara, another NSA official.  On the contrary, under prevailing circumstances the “intrusiveness” that Ms. Roark was accused of is likely to be a virtue, not a defect.  It is the NSA, not Ms. Roark, that stands accused of mismanaging billions of dollars and operating in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Ms. Roark together with Thomas Drake and others did exactly what they should have done by bringing their concerns about NSA mismanagement to the attention of the DoD Inspector General, among other things.  Significantly, they had nothing to gain for themselves.  Their actions did not embody any motive of personal interest or self-aggrandizement, but something more like the opposite.  They were acting in the public interest, as they understood it.  That they (and especially Mr. Drake, who is now under indictment) are suffering for it is a worrisome sign of a broken system.

I also should not have repeated the insinuation in the Drake indictment that he and Ms. Roark had an intimate relationship.  This would be irrelevant in any case, but in this case it is also false.

My apologies to Ms. Roark and Mr. Drake.

No Responses to “Another Word on Diane Roark and Intelligence Oversight”

  1. SaveTomDrake February 3, 2011 at 7:10 PM #

    Thank you, Mr. Aftergood, for your apologetic response to the above referenced article about Ms. Roark and Tom Drake.

    Kind regards,…

  2. amanfromMars February 3, 2011 at 11:32 PM #

    Hi, Steven,

    This tale surely has one wondering on what skeletons are hiding in former NSA deputy director Barbara McNamara’s cupboard, and by inference, freelancing rogues within the NSA, or agents formerly in NSA, which is always the clear and present danger with any form of intelligence operation……. retired former colleagues [or active present ones as would be freelancing rogues] using their knowledge and circle of contacts to go into business for themselves and that invariably has them creating conflicts and battling against the system which schooled them, which is an unpalatable treachery, in every case. But hey, that’s capitalism for you, money talks, and leads the blind to their doom and/or just desserts, which may very well be one and the same thing.

    And that was an impressive apology and revision of opinion upon further examination of evidence/facts/metadata. Far too many would run away like cowards and refuse themselves the opportunity to set the record straight in similar situations which would warrant clarification and/or correction. Bravo. Respect.

  3. Jesselyn Radack February 7, 2011 at 3:10 PM #

    This is the most sincere, humble, elegant and meaningful apology I’ve ever read. You have my utmost respect.