CIA whistleblower charged for leaking torture secrets


January 23, 2012
By Agence France-Presse
Monday, January 23, 2012

A former CIA official who publicly confirmed the waterboarding of top Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah was charged Monday with leaking classified information to journalists, including the identities of two CIA officers.

John Kiriakou, who served with the CIA between 1990 and 2004, was charged with violating a law that makes it illegal to disclose the identity of a covert officer, leaking classified information and lying to a CIA publications review board, the department said.

He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

“Safeguarding classified information, including the identities of CIA officers involved in sensitive operations, is critical to keeping our intelligence officers safe and protecting our national security,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

“Today’s charges reinforce the Justice Department’s commitment to hold accountable anyone who would violate the solemn duty not to disclose such sensitive information,” he said in a statement.

Kiriakou first came to public attention in an interview with ABC News in December 2007 in which he became the first US official to describe Abu Zubaydah’s waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning widely viewed as torture.

He acknowledged later in his memoir, however, that he was not present when the interrogation took place.

CIA director David Petraeus said the spy agency had supported the investigation, and reminded CIA employees of their oath to safeguard classified information.

“Given the sensitive nature of many of our agency’s operations and the risks we ask our employees to take, the illegal passage of secrets is an abuse of trust that may put lives in jeopardy,” he said.

The Justice Department said the charges stem from an investigation into classified information, including photographs of a CIA official, that found its way into classified filings by defense lawyers representing detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The breach was allegedly traced to a journalist who had learned of the CIA officer’s identity and his role in the Abu Zubaydah case from Kiriakou, and passed the information on to a Guantánamo defense counsel.

The Justice Department also said Kiriakou was the source of information in a New York Times story in June 2008 that referenced the CIA officer’s role in the Abu Zubaydah case.

The complaint alleges that Kiriakou also disclosed the identity of a covert CIA officer in a pair of emails to a journalist in July and August 2008, identifying him as a “team leader” of a certain operation.

The CIA filed a crimes report after discovering photographs of the first CIA official in a classified filing by defense counsel of certain Guantánamo detainees, the government’s complaint said.

The photos apparently were among 32 pages of photos that defense counsel showed to clients to see if they could pick out pictures of contractors or government officials who they recognize from their interrogations.

Patrick Fitzgerald, the US attorney for the northern district of Illinois, was appointed to supervise a federal investigation into the breach.

“No law or military commission order expressly prohibited defense counsel from providing their clients with these photo spreads,” it said.

Kiriakou also was alleged to have lied to a CIA review board in the course of seeking permission for publication of a book about his experiences called “The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror.”

Previous articleWere Explosives the Source of the Seismic Signals Emitted from New York on September 11, 2001?
Next articleU.S. fights to keep $6.6 million in al-Qaeda assets from 9/11 victims

Since 2004, 911Truth.Org has educated the public about the suppressed realities of the September 11 attacks.

We worked with the 9/11 Families to pressure the Bush administration to convene an investigation into the deadliest attacks on US soil since Pearl Harbor. We attended many of the commission hearings and questioned commissioners and bird-dogged elected officials to get answers to the Unanswered Questions that remain so to this day.

We reported the contradictions, lies and omissions on the public record. 911Truth.Org staff have given hundreds of interviews on radio and mainstream network TV.

We cover a wide range of 9/11-related issues in publishing academic papers, original research, and opinion pieces.

We wish to thank our donors who have kept us on the web since 2004! We appreciate your continued support!

We continue to update the website to make the nearly 3000 articles easier to find, read and share. Thanks for visiting us!