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Filmmaker Accuses Obama Administration of Silencing Whistleblowers (Video)

Oscar nominee James Spione claims people’s lives have been destroyed after they leaked non-classified information to the press.

James Spione
Current TV
James Spione

Oscar nominated director James Spione is charging the Obama administration with unfairly punishing whistleblowers who have gone to the press with information critical of the government’s post-9/11 policies.

Spione, whose 2011 short documentary Incident in New Baghdad earned an Oscar nomination, is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter.com for post-production costs on his next film, Silenced.

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He discussed the new documentary during an appearance Tuesday on Current TV, where he spoke about former NSA employee Thomas Drake, who Spione said released non-classified information to the Baltimore Sun about what he saw as abuses within the federal government’s warrantless wiretapping program.

Spione told Current’s Cenk Uygur that Drake went to the Sun as a last resort after airing his complaints to the government.

“Tom Drake tried to go through all the proper channels for years. Tried to alert people to the problems with this program. It’s illegality, the wastefulness, the gigantic amounts of money being spent, to no avail,” said Spione.

After going to the press, Drake was hit with nearly a dozen charges. He eventually plead guilty to one of the smaller charges and the others were thrown out.

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“In a way the [government's] mission was accomplished because he was saddled with hundreds of thousands of legal bills,” Spione said. “They take people like this and they destroy them.”

Silenced also tells the stories of Jesselyn Radack, who leaked information to Newsweek in 2001 about "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh; John Kiriakou, the first CIA officer to reveal waterboarding had become official U.S. practice; and Peter Van Buren, a State Department veteran who criticized what he saw as fraud during the reconstruction of Iraq.

The Young Turks airs 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Current TV.

Watch the clip below.