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Another Setback In Obama Administration's Crackdown On Leaks To Media

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The sentence is far less than what the Obama administration wanted.

Federal prosecutors asked a judge in Baltimore to fine Thomas Drake $50,000 dollars. The judge refused the request, and instead scolded prosecutors for the way they handled the case.

It was the latest blow the a saga, which began in 2006 when Drake, 54, gave information about an electronic surveillance program to a reporter at the Baltimore Sun.

Drake was a senior official at the National Security Agency; he believed the so-called Trailblazer program was unconstitutional, as well as costly and ineffective. Prosecutors charged him with 10 counts of disclosing classified information, but dropped the charges three days before the case was scheduled to come to trial.

Last month, Drake pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of misusing a government computer. Judge Richard Bennett said prosecutors had put the whistleblower through "four years of hell" and said their conduct was "improper."

The Obama Administration had pressed for a stiff sentence, in hopes of deterring other leaks. They're still pursuing spy charges against three other former officials who have leaked information.

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