WASHINGTON (AP) — For years, criminal defendants as different as Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North and terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui have tried to insert government secrets into their defense.
The hope is that prosecutors will pass up a trial — or at least drop some charges — rather than expose sensitive information in court.
This defense strategy worked perfectly in the leak case against a former National Security Agency official, Thomas Drake.
He pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Baltimore to a single misdemeanor. Drake's deal with prosecutors ended the government case accusing him of passing classified material to a Baltimore Sun reporter.
Civil libertarians doubt the setback for prosecutors will halt the Obama administration's vigorous legal attack on leakers. The Justice Department shows no sign of backing off other pending leak cases.