Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Baltimore Sun reports that that the US government wants to invoke a little-used rule that allows prosecutors to use code words in the courtroom — making portions of a public trial private in the trial of Thomas Drake, an employee at the National Security Agency accused of sharing classified documents with journalist Siobhan Gorman that revealed that NSA's Trailblazer Program was was a boondoggle of sorts — and that the agency had removed several of the privacy safeguards that were put in place to protect domestic conversations and e-mails from being stored and monitored. The "silent witness rule," is meant to minimize the disclosure of classified information by allowing only those directly involved in a case — the judge, jury, witnesses, lawyers and defendants — to see the evidence. Any public discussion of the secret details must be done in code. "They literally have a key, a glossary, that the jury would have that the public would not," says Abbe D. Lowell, a Washington, DC defense attorney who gave an example of what the code would sound like: "When [the defendant] and I were talking about Country A, we discussed the fact that there was a possibility that Leader 1 might not appreciate the United States' sanction on Topic C." That's impossible for a jury to follow, and it will cripple a defendant's rights to really cross-examine and confront the evidence against him says Lowell. Drake's defense attorneys say Drake is more whistleblower than traitor. "The documents at issue in this case concern NSA's waste, fraud, and abuse," says Maryland federal public defender James Wyda, who represents Drake. "Most importantly, Mr. Drake's activities relating to these documents were intended to reveal the waste, fraud, and abuse that cost the taxpayers money, weakened our civil liberties, and hindered our nation's ability to identify potential threats against our security.""