Thomas Drake complained about Michael Hayden spending 1 billion to do what 3 million could do.
So Drake was complaining about a program that cost 300 times as much as the one he championed (ultimately, Trailblazer cost $1.2 billion, so actually 400 times as much). It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. Trailblazer, according to a government filing, worked across more platforms. ThinThread, according to a Siobhan Gorman story, had additional functionality, including privacy protections.
But still, Drake complained about a program that did what ThinThread did–at 300 to 400 times the cost.
As one of the other NSA employees who whistleblew about Trailblazer, J. Kirk Wiebe, explains,
Yet the government wants to put Drake in jail for 35 years because he tried to make sure incompetence that led to 9/11 doesn’t continue.“How does a man see 9/11 happened, know that some part of it is due to corruption and mismanagement and sleep at night. How does a man do that? He obviously couldn’t,” Wiebe told Pelley.