Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that Judge Richard D. Bennett harshly criticized US prosecutor William M. Welch III for his treatment of a former spy agency official Thomas Drake, who was accused of leaking classified material. Bennett called the delays in the now-closed case 'unconscionable' and compared it to British tyranny in the colonial era. In 2007, FBI agents raided Drake's house, but it took over two years for officials to indict him. 'And then, over a year later, on the eve of trial, in June of 2011, the government says, "Whoops, we dropped the whole case,"' Bennett said. Drake was given a mild penalty for pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge of exceeding authorized use of a computer: a year's probation and 240 hours of community service while all 10 felony counts were dropped. 'That's four years of hell that a citizen goes through,' Bennett said. 'It was not proper. It doesn't pass the smell test.' In contrast with his tough words for Welch, Bennett singled out for praise Drake's public defenders, James Wyda and Deborah L. Boardman, saying their work on behalf of Drake was 'at the highest level of professionalism.' Judge Welch said the matter was now closed and addressed Drake: 'I wish you the best of luck in the rest of your life.'"