"I call for a new American Revolution declaring our independence from the surveillance state and government control of information," said Thomas Drake, a former whistleblower and intelligence official at the National Security Agency.
Drake made the declaration at Thursday's Restore the Fourth rally in Washington, D.C., saying the U.S. "has become the kind of secret, undemocratic, authoritarian, imperialist nation against whom we fought the first American Revolution."
Through cheers and chants, Drake spoke about the government's secret actions that he believes take away our rights and liberties in the name of national security.
"We the people do not consent to the surveillance state," Drake said. "We will not forsake our rights for the sake of national security. We will not accept that the end justifies the means. We will not accept the government granting itself license to steal our liberty and our information away from us."
Drake, who was prosecuted in 2010 under the Espionage Act for allegedly disclosing classified information on the NSA's wire-tapping program, has come back into the public eye now that Edward Snowden has also released information regarding the NSA's vast data collection program. Recently, Drake provided Snowden some advice on how to handle prosecution by the government: "Be lawyered up to the max and find a place where it's going to be that much more difficult for the United States to make arrangements for his return."
Charges against Drake were eventually dropped except for a misdemeanor.