A whistleblower plays by the rules at CIA, and finds ‘nothing gets done’

When wayward contract employees at the CIA began pilfering snacks from vending machines back in 2013, the Office of the Inspector General sprang into action. Surveillance cameras went up, the culprits were nabbed, and all lost their jobs.

From start to finish, the case of the $3,314.40 in stolen snacks lasted two months.

When more serious allegations of wrongdoing arise at the CIA, though, inspectors may be far less speedy, especially when their findings could embarrass the Langley, Va., spy agency.

In one notable case, that of John Reidy, a contractor whose resume shows that he worked with spies deep inside Iran’s mullah-run regime, charges of wrongdoing have sat idle in the hands of CIA inspectors. Details of Reidy’s charges remain highly classified. The case is now seven years old, and seems only to gather dust.

Reidy, 46, anguishes over his charges, angry at the years-long delay in resolving his complaints but also wary of crossing a line and revealing anything classified beyond his allegations of a “catastrophic intelligence failure” overseas.

“I cannot talk about the 2007 incident. It is classified. I risk incarceration. I have a family,” Reidy wrote in an email before meeting with a reporter.

But in addition to his whistleblower case, Reidy presses a larger issue, one that is pertinent to the era of President Donald Trump and his persistent charges that sensitive leaks cripple his six-month-old administration. Leaks may grow worse if intelligence agencies don’t learn how to channel dissent and protect those who offer it in a constructive spirit.

I PLAYED BY THE RULES. THEY ARE BROKEN.

John Reidy, a CIA contractor and whistleblower

“I played by the rules,” Reidy said. “They are broken. … The public has to realize that whistleblowers [like me] can follow all the rules and nothing gets done.” In frustration, Reidy last month sent a 90-page letter and documentation about his case to the chairman of the Senate’s powerful Judiciary Committee, lambasting its lack of resolution.

“They have enough time to look into who is stealing candy from a vending machine but they can’t look into billion-dollar contract fraud?” Reidy asked in an interview.

The CIA refused to comment on Reidy’s case.

“As a general matter, we do not comment on ongoing litigation,” said spokesperson Heather Fritz Horniak.

CIA Director says WikiLeaks is a ‘hostile intelligence service’

In his first public remarks since becoming CIA director, Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a ”non-state hostile intelligence service.”

AP
Even if CIA officials have a far different version of events, perhaps contradicting some of Reidy’s allegations, the secrecy with which the agency operates impedes them from speaking out. CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in a speech Tuesday night that his agency finds it difficult to “push back” against misleading or wrong news reports.

“At CIA we’re often limited in what we can say, given the need to protect classified information. In many cases we can’t set the record straight because doing so could harm national security,” Pompeo told a gathering of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, a nonpartisan group in support of the intelligence community.

It took a lawsuit to release the information about the theft from CIA vending machines. The agency released a declassified report about the case as part of hundreds of documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in 2015 by BuzzFeed News.

Pilfering from the vending machines began in 2012, and by March 2013, inspectors began looking into the thefts, discovering that the culprits were unplugging a cable linking the machines to a payment system, FreedomPay, letting them obtain snacks at no charge.

“Video footage recovered from the surveillance cameras captured numerous perpetrators engaged in the FreedomPay theft scheme, all of whom were readily identifiable as Agency contract personnel,” the inspectors’ report says.

The vending machine thievery wrapped up neatly. But Reidy still waits for resolution of the seemingly far more significant issues he has raised.

Reidy is more straight arrow than troublemaker. A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, he was educated in Catholic schools, then attended St. Anselm College in New Hampshire and obtained a law degree from the University of San Francisco. Law degree in hand, he dreamed of joining the FBI.

After a stint in the Army, where he worked in a criminal investigations division, Reidy applied for jobs at both the FBI and the CIA. The CIA called more quickly, and Reidy joined in 2003, leaving six months later for a private contractor that dealt in security policy.

Reidy formed his own company in 2006, Form III Defense Solutions, and worked as a subcontractor, piggybacking on contracts won by bigger companies for intelligence collection, tactical targeting guidance and other matters, usually with the CIA.

A resume he gave to McClatchy shows that from 2006 to 2009, Reidy developed an “Iran Study Guide” and worked on “humint” — or human intelligence. Reidy said intelligence community secrecy rules bar him from naming the country where he handled a “complex agency operation,” but he does say he studied some Farsi language. He hasn’t done any classified work since 2012.

Two different issues led Reidy in 2010 to submit a complaint to the CIA’s internal watchdog, the Inspector General’s Office. One issue involved what Reidy alleged was fraud between elements within the CIA and contractors. Another issue involved what he called a “massive” and “catastrophic” intelligence failure due to a bungled foreign operation, according to his 2014 appeal to an office under the director of national intelligence.

Reidy said he sent the Inspector General’s Office 80 emails and 56 documents to back up his complaints.

Legal protections for whistleblowers in the intelligence community grew stronger in 2012, when then-President Barack Obama signed a presidential directive protecting people from various forms of retaliation, including demotions, termination or reassignment. Reidy took heart at the move.

HE WAS THE POSTER CHILD OF THE PERSON THE SYSTEM IS SUPPOSED TO WORK FOR.

Kel McClanahan, former attorney for whistleblower John Reidy

“He was the poster child of the person the system is supposed to work for,” said Kel McClanahan, a Maryland attorney who represented Reidy until 2016.

Despite the Obama directive, experts working in the national security arena say employees still confront obstacles. Employees’ lawyers have no access to classified documents around which a case may rest. Classified matters cannot even be discussed between client and attorney. The CIA sees its Inspector General’s Office as impartial and makes it difficult for employees who hire attorneys, although Reidy did so for years.

Often, CIA employees or contractors find their careers put on hold.

“You will likely find yourself a pariah because nobody likes someone who rocks the boat,” said Bradley P. Moss, a Washington lawyer who handles some national security cases involving whistleblowers.

Employees disgruntled over fraud, abuse or other matters cannot easily look to obtain redress from outside the intelligence community.

IF YOU’RE AN EMPLOYEE WHO SEES SOMETHING EGREGIOUS, THEY DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING WITH IT.

Kathleen McClellan of Expose Facts, a whistleblower advocacy group

“There’s no outside review of whistleblower cases in the intelligence community,” said Kathleen McClellan, deputy director at Expose Facts, a whistleblower advocacy group. “If you’re an employee who sees something egregious, they don’t have to do anything with it. They can flush it down the toilet for all you know.”

As Reidy found out, an internal investigation can drag on without time limit.

“They can go on for years. They can go on for decades,” said Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department ethics attorney who also works at Expose Facts.

Reidy has also told his story to staffers with security clearances for the House and Senate intelligence committees, and seen his case bounce between the CIA inspector general and the inspector general for the Directorate of National Intelligence.

Desperate for an outcome, Reidy increasingly warns that the failure of whistleblowing channels may lead disgruntled employees and contractors to go public with secrets, posing a danger to national security.

The CIA and the National Security Agency have been hit with numerous cases of leaks since the ground-shaking case of Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who in 2013 leaked to the media details of extensive surveillance, including of tens of millions of Americans.

This year, another NSA contractor, Harold T. Martin, was indicted for amassing secret stolen documents and data at his Maryland home over a 20-year period. He awaits trial.

Prosecutors in early June charged another NSA contractor, 25-year-old Reality Winner, with sending a classified report about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections to The Intercept, a national security news outlet. She could face 10 years in prison.

For its part, WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group, began publishing in March a series of cyber-espionage documents that it claimed were taken from the CIA’s elite hacking unit. Speculation rose that a CIA contractor stole the documents and leaked them.

Seeking to spur action in his case, Reidy last month fired off letters to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, warning that working through the CIA Inspector General’s Office has been a dead end.

THEY JUST DELAY, DELAY, AND DELAY AND HOPE THE PROBLEM GOES AWAY.

John Reidy, a CIA contractor and whistleblower

“They just delay, delay, and delay and hope the problem goes away,” Reidy said in a June 5 letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, the Judiciary panel’s chairman.

Reidy said his own example bodes poorly for those who want to report fraud or abuse.

“If you are contemplating whistleblowing … you’re going to sit there and say, ‘If I go through that system, it will not end well for me. I’m going to lose my career and I’m going to be financially devastated,’” Reidy said.

BY TIM JOHNSON
tjohnson@mcclatchydc.com
JULY 13, 2017 12:06 PM

Find this story at 13 July 2017
Copyright http://www.sacbee.com/

Jeremy Scahill on Obama’s Commutation of Chelsea Manning & Continued Demonization of Edward Snowden

While President Obama has commuted the sentence of Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, the administration has indicated it has no plans to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said last week, “The release of the information [Manning] provided to WikiLeaks was damaging to national security. But the disclosures by Edward Snowden were far more serious and far more dangerous.” We speak to The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill, author of the recent piece, “The True Scandal of 2016 was the Torture of Chelsea Manning.”

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: On Friday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters there was a stark difference between the cases of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST: There are some important differences, including the scale of the crime—the crimes that were committed and the consequences of their crimes. Obviously, the—as Chelsea Manning has acknowledged, and as we have said many times, the release of the information that she provided to WikiLeaks was damaging to national security. But the disclosures by Edward Snowden were far more serious and far more dangerous.
AMY GOODMAN: On Friday, a campaign supporting Edward Snowden delivered a petition with more than 1 million signatures to the White House demanding a pardon. Jeremy Scahill, what Josh Earnest said in differentiating Snowden from Chelsea Manning?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I mean, there are clear differences between what Chelsea Manning did and the way that Chelsea Manning has been treated and Edward Snowden. But I do reject the idea that they’re using Edward Snowden as sort of a stepladder to justify this. The reality is that President Obama should have issued a full pardon to Chelsea Manning and should have never allowed the kind of abuse that she’s endured to go on for this period.

Let’s remember, though, that, you know, Chelsea Manning didn’t just leak the “Collateral Murder” video that showed the killing of Iraqi civilians and journalists from the Reuters news agency, didn’t just release the State Department cables that showed all sorts of blackmail, cajoling, corruption, support for dictators around the world, that—it was one of the most incredible moments in the history of democracy in this country, where people actually got to have the curtain pulled back and to see how the government functions in private and how it contradicts the public proclamations of the United States being this beacon of hope, the shining, you know, city on the top of the hill. And also Chelsea Manning provided the Iraq War logs and the Afghan War logs, that detailed numerous crimes committed by the United States and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also gave us an unprecedented window into how the assassination forces that the U.S. had unleashed in those countries functioned.

But not a single document that Chelsea Manning is known to have released was a top-secret document. And I think that’s a technical distinction from what Edward Snowden did. And I think that that’s part of why Josh Earnest is saying this. But let’s be clear: Edward Snowden also is a whistleblower deserving of an embrace from people who believe in democracy. We understand now the breaking news today was that the Russian government is saying it’s extending Edward Snowden’s ability to stay in Russia for two more years. And a senior Russian official rejected the suggestion by former acting CIA Director Mike Morell that Snowden should be handed over to the U.S. by Putin as a thank you gift to the incoming President Donald Trump, and the Russian Foreign Ministry said it’s curious that a former director of the CIA actually views the giving of people as a gift, and it says a lot about the United States. But, no, I think that the White House is using Edward Snowden in an attempt to justify the commutation of the sentence of Chelsea Manning. I’m ecstatic that Obama did even this. I think he should have gone farther and issued a full pardon to Chelsea Manning.

AMY GOODMAN: One of the things Josh Earnest said—and this is before the announcement that the sentence of Chelsea Manning would be commuted—when talking about Edward Snowden, is he went to a country that is an adversary.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, that’s—first of all, that’s an outright lie. When Edward Snowden was in mid-air on the way to Moscow, the United States—

AMY GOODMAN: Headed to Latin America.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. Well, we don’t know exactly where, but we understand somewhere in Latin America. While he was in the air en route to Moscow, the United States canceled his passport. So, it was the Obama administration that chose Russia. Edward Snowden did not choose Russia. And then they tried to force Evo Morales—well, they actually did force Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia’s plane down, thinking that Edward Snowden was on board it. My understanding is that supporters of Snowden had bought tickets for him on multiple airlines in an attempt to kind of fog up the U.S. efforts to catch him.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, because he didn’t have his passport, when he was in transit, stopped at Moscow, he couldn’t leave the airport.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right, he had to stay in the airport for weeks on end.

AMY GOODMAN: Earlier this month, WikiLeaks said its founder, Julian Assange, was prepared to give up his freedom in exchange for Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. A statement on WikiLeaks’ Twitter page read, “If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case.” Can you comment on this, Jeremy?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, first of all, I mean, I know that our dear friend, the late Michael Ratner, believed that there was a lot of evidence to indicate that there was a secret or sealed indictment against Julian Assange, but that has not been confirmed. So it’s unclear even if there are charges against Julian Assange. Some of the leaked documents from Hillary Clinton’s circle indicate that maybe there is, but it’s unclear that there’s even an extradition request to respond to in the first place. And I think that, you know, Assange has plenty of trouble facing him if he steps outside of that embassy—the potential for the U.S. to want to extradite him, certainly there; Sweden is definitely going to want him to spend some time in jail, and Assange himself has acknowledged that; and the British government, of course, may bring a whole array of new charges against him, as well. But it will be interesting to see what happens. I mean, Assange did say it, and so we’ll see what happens.

AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller tweeted, “Obama commutes sentence of Chelsea Manning. How many people died because of manning’ leak?” That is what Judith Miller tweeted, the former New York Times reporter.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Judith Miller’s article—

AMY GOODMAN: In the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, Miller wrote several of the key articles that falsely claimed Iraq had an extensive weapons of mass destruction program ahead of the Iraq invasion, paving way for the war in Iraq.

JEREMY SCAHILL: I mean, Judith Miller was a witting participant in a sophisticated propaganda campaign orchestrated by Dick Cheney and the top levels of power in the United States government to falsify a case to invade and destroy Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people died in that war. Thousands of U.S. soldiers were killed in that war. Judith Miller shouldn’t write with ink; she should write with the blood that she has caused to be shed around the world. And shame on her for attacking Chelsea Manning, whose entire intent was to save lives, when she has knowingly participated in a drive to an unjust, illegal war that killed scores of people. She should, as they say, delete her account.

AMY GOODMAN: Chase Strangio, as we wrap up, your final comment? And do you know what Chelsea Manning will be doing when she gets out of Leavenworth?

CHASE STRANGIO: I have no doubt that Chelsea Manning will continue to just absolutely fight for all the principles that she has long stood for, continue to engage in a campaign of advocacy for transparency, for transgender justice, for the justice of so many people. And I have no doubt that today she, as she always is, is thinking about other people, like Leonard Peltier and other people who are still awaiting to hear about the commutation of their sentences.

AMY GOODMAN: The pardon of General Cartwright?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, General Cartwright was part of the official leaks program, where the White House wants to put out information that they feel makes them look glorious, like as we saw John Brennan and others do in the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden. What this boiled down to was Cartwright leaked information about the Stuxnet virus, and he appeared to have done it with the permission of the highest levels of power in the Obama administration—unclear if Obama himself approved it. But then he got caught lying to the FBI. And the whole point of it was to say, “Hey, we dismantled—or, we penetrated Iran’s nuclear program with this amazing computer virus that we created,” potentially in concert with the Israelis. Cartwright then got caught lying to the FBI. And so, this is sort of akin to, you know, some of the pardons that took place in Richard Nixon’s administration. Basically, Cartwright did this at the pleasure of the White House, so to speak, and so he’s part of the official leaks program, as, you know, so many other unindicted people are in the White House—big contrast to how they treat conscience-motivated whistleblowers.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Nancy Hollander, what this means for future whistleblowers?

NANCY HOLLANDER: I think it’s very important for future whistleblowers to see how Chelsea was treated and mistreated. And none of that is going to go away. But at least the president has reduced her sentence. But we’ve always been concerned, and Chelsea has been concerned, that future whistleblowers will be afraid to come out and step forward. And Chelsea will be out there doing service to her community, and she can’t wait to do that.

AMY GOODMAN: Nancy Hollander, appellate attorney for Chelsea Manning. Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the ACLU, represented Chelsea Manning in a lawsuit against the Pentagon. And Jeremy Scahill, I hope you’ll stay with us for the end of the show to talk about the confirmation hearing for education secretary, Betsy DeVos. When we come back, Oscar López Rivera has also been—had his sentence commuted. We’ll talk with his brother and Juan González. Stay with us.

JANUARY 18, 2017

Find this story at 18 January 2017

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Filmmaker Robert Greenwald on “War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State”

A new film directed by Robert Greenwald looks at four whistleblowers who had their lives practically destroyed after they went to the press with evidence of government wrongdoing. They are Michael DeKort, Thomas Drake, Franz Gayl and Thomas Tamm. Whistleblowers have come under unprecedented attack by the Obama administration. Evoking the Espionage Act of 1917, the administration has pressed criminal charges against no fewer than six government employees, more than all previous presidential administrations combined. In the film, Greenwald also interviews government oversight experts and investigative journalists who warn about the chilling effect prosecutions may have on potential whistleblowers and the journalists who help them. Click to watch Part 2 of the interview. [includes rush transcript]
Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to whistleblowers and the unprecedented attack they’ve come under during the Obama administration. Evoking the Espionage Act of 1917, the administration has pressed criminal charges against no fewer than six government employees, more than all previous presidential administrations combined.

AMY GOODMAN: A new film directed by Robert Greenwald looks at four whistleblowers who had their lives practically destroyed after they went to the press with evidence of government wrongdoing. They are Michael DeKort, Thomas Drake, Franz Gayl and Thomas Tamm. In the film, Greenwald also interviews government oversight experts and investigative journalists who warn about the chilling effect prosecutions may have on potential whistleblowers and the journalists who help them. This is the trailer of the film, War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State.

FRANZ GAYL: I had to do something. If not me, then who? I said, “This needs to be fixed.”

THOMAS DRAKE: I thought about various investigative reporters that I would try and contact.

THOMAS TAMM: Once I put the phone down, I was pretty confident that my life would never be quite the same.

MICHAEL DEKORT: I mean, at the end of the day, right, when you make a decision like this, if you’re not prepared to have the worst happen, then really don’t do it at all.

JANE MAYER: These people face a terrifying situation.

REPORTER: Thomas Drake, accused of leaking classified information. Agents raiding his home in Howard County.

THOMAS DRAKE: Eighteen agents, some of them in body armor, had been banging on our front door.

UNIDENTIFIED: Any time anyone takes a step like that, you know that they’ve probably got something important to say, because they are basically wiping away their career.

DANA PRIEST: There are close to a million people who have top-secret clearance.

MICHAEL DEKORT: The Obama administration had cracked down on whistleblowers.

WILLIAM KELLER: They have indicted more people for violating secrecy than all of the previous administrations put together.

UNIDENTIFIED: The number of people who indicated to us they wish they could talk, but they can’t, because they’re so afraid of what could happen to them, it’s a terrible thing for our democracy.

THOMAS DRAKE: So speaking truth to power is now a criminal act.

AMY GOODMAN: Some of those voices, Thomas Drake and William Keller of The New York Times, as well as Jane Mayer of The New Yorker. This is Democracy Now! The trailer of the new documentary, War on Whistleblowers is what you just watched. We’re joined now by its director, Robert Greenwald, and founder and president of Brave New Films, producer, director and activist.

Why did you make this film? You’ve looked at so many other issues. Why whistleblowers, Robert?

ROBERT GREENWALD: Well, there were a few things that came together. What we always try to do in our films is connect the dots and explore how the system is working. So we had the crackdown on whistleblowers, number one, but it wasn’t without reason. It’s very deeply connected to the growth and power of the national security state, which believes completely in secrets. So we had the whistleblowers. We had the national security state. And then we had some incredible investigative journalists being attacked, investigated, threatened, their careers at stake also. So we put all three of those together and made a film which allows people to understand what’s going on and how deeply threatening it is to us, in a kind of drip-drip way, where you don’t always see or understand what’s happening.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Bob, I want to turn to the case of Franz Gayl, a former marine. While working at the Pentagon as a science adviser for the Marine Corps, Gayl volunteered to deploy to Iraq. Upon his return, he alerted the office of the secretary of defense, and later the Congress and the media, to critical equipment shortages. These included mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs. Gayl’s public outcry exposed the fact that the corps had failed to provide marines in Iraq with life-saving technologies. Yet Gayl has been the target of years of retaliatory investigations, workplace harassment, including the elimination of meaningful duties and extended suspension of his security clearances. In this clip, Gayl explains why he made the fateful decision to save lives by requesting MRAPs to replace Humvees in Iraq. Journalist Seymour Hersh is also in this clip.

FRANZ GAYL: I had to do something. If not me, then who? And if not now, then when? It was one of those situations. And I just said, “No, no, no, no. It doesn’t matter what the consequences are, personal or otherwise, right?” I said, “This needs to be fixed.”

SEYMOUR HERSH: Whistleblowers are just people who say there’s something more important here than my boss or the general or the admiral or the president.

FRANZ GAYL: The most common vehicle used was the Humvee. They were never built to withstand weapons that the insurgents were using, these IEDs.

UNIDENTIFIED: The estimates are that about a third of the casualties in Iraq were due to Humvees.

FRANZ GAYL: Hundreds of Marines were tragically lost, probably thousands maimed, unnecessarily. So I said, “Let’s replace the Humvees with what are called MRAPs, mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.” The MRAP was bound to save lives.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Franz Gayl in the clip from War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State. Robert Greenwald, he was one of the few whistleblowers who actually was able to keep his job, where some of the others have had really terrible times after they did their exposés. Could you talk about that, as well?

ROBERT GREENWALD: Yeah. One of the things that was a common denominator with all the whistleblowers we interviewed is the terrible personal price they paid—even Franz. He was saving lives, literally saving hundreds of lives. He was fired initially. But this is where organizing makes such an incredible impact. Organizations, POGO/GAP got behind him. They worked. People called. They took action. And it really worked. It got him his job back. And it’s important to keep that in mind.

The other cases were horrific. And what is happening over and over again is the Obama administration and previous administrations are literally shooting the messengers—punishing the whistleblowers, trying to pass laws that make it harder for whistleblowers. And look, the only way we find out about the national security state is by these people coming forward.

AMY GOODMAN: Robert Greenwald, part two of this conversation, as we go through the whistleblowers, we’ll post online at democracynow.org. The new film is called War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State.

As we wrap up, Juan, you’re headed out after tomorrow’s show to Chicago and Detroit to speak about Harvest of Empire?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yes, the film is premiering there at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Friday night, and I’ll be there after the 8:15 showing for a Q&A with the audience, and then at Wayne State University at noon on Saturday.

AMY GOODMAN: And we’ll put all the details at our website at democracynow.org.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Find this story at 18 April 2013

Whistleblower John Kiriakou: For Embracing Torture, John Brennan a “Terrible Choice to Lead the CIA”

Days after he was sentenced to 30 months in prison, John Kiriakou — the first CIA official to be jailed for any reason relating to the torture program — denounces President Obama’s appointment of John Brennan to head the CIA. “I’ve known John Brennan since 1990,” Kiriakou says. “I worked directly for John Brennan twice. I think that he is a terrible choice to lead the CIA. I think that it’s time for the CIA to move beyond the ugliness of the post-September 11th regime, and we need someone who is going to respect the Constitution and to not be bogged down by a legacy of torture.”

Find this story at 30 January 2013

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to talk about John Brennan right now, President Obama’s nominee to become the next chief of the CIA. The news agency Reuters is reporting that Brennan had detailed information on the agency’s torture program while serving there under President George W. Bush. Official records apparently show Brennan received regular internal CIA updates about the progress of torture techniques, including waterboarding. It’s unclear if Brennan raised any objections at the time he was made aware. Brennan’s confirmation hearing will be February 7th. In 2006, he gave an interview with Frontline on PBS where he said it was right for the Bush administration to, quote, “take off the gloves” after the 9/11 attacks.

JOHN BRENNAN: The war, or the campaign against terrorism, is going to be a long one, and that the opposition, whether it be al-Qaeda or whether it be Iraq, doesn’t play by the Marquess of Queensbury rules, and therefore, you know, the U.S., in some areas, has to take off the gloves. And I think that’s entirely appropriate. I think we do have to take off the gloves in some areas, but within bounds, and at the right time, in the right way, and for the right reason, and with full understanding of what the consequences of that might be.

AMY GOODMAN: That was John Brennan in 2006. When President Obama was first elected in his first term, he wanted to—John Brennan to be his director of Central Intelligence. There was such an outcry in the human rights community that John Brennan pulled his name out. Now, four years later, President Obama has officially nominated John Brennan once again to head the CIA. Our guest, John Kiriakou, is about to go to jail, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, worked for the CIA, there while John Brennan was there. Can you respond to what John Brennan knew, when he knew it, and the fact that President Obama wants him to be head of the CIA?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Sure. Obviously I can’t read John Brennan’s mind, but I can tell you that at the time that the torture techniques were being implemented, John Brennan was President Bush’s director of the National Counterterrorist Center. He was also, a little earlier than that, the deputy executive director and then, I believe, executive director of the CIA. That’s the number three ranking position in the CIA. So, he would have had to have been intimately involved in—not necessarily in carrying out the torture techniques, but in the policy, the torture policy—either that or he had to be brain dead, because you can’t be in positions like that, director of the National Counterterrorist Center and executive director of the CIA, without knowing what the CIA’s torture policies are.

Now, I’m surprised, frankly, also, at the fact that there’s no outrage in the human rights community now that Mr. Brennan’s nomination has been made official. There was a great hue and cry in 2009 when he was initially floated for the position of CIA director. And I’m not sure why there’s a difference between four years ago and now. John Brennan certainly hasn’t changed.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou, I want to read a comment made by the judge at your sentencing hearing. Judge Leonie Brinkema sentenced you to 30 months in prison last Friday, saying, quote, “This case is not a case about a whistleblower. It’s a case about a man who betrayed a very solemn trust, and that is a trust to keep the integrity of his agency intact and specifically to protect the identity of co-workers. … I think 30 months is, frankly, way too light, because the message has to be sent to every covert agent that when you leave the agency you can’t just start all of a sudden revealing the names of the people with whom you worked,” the judge said. John Kiriakou, can you comment on that statement?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Sure. When Judge Brinkema accepted the plea deal in October, she called 30 months fair and appropriate. I can only think that with a courtroom packed full of journalists last Friday, she decided to seize the moment and make a statement that would be carried in the papers. I don’t know what changed between October and January, other than the fact that she and the prosecution had had several ex parte communications. What that means is the prosecutors were able to meet with the judge, related to my case, without the defense, my attorneys, being present. So we have no idea what it was that the prosecution told the judge. We were not allowed to defend ourselves. Indeed, Judge Brinkema denied 75 motions that we made asking for declassification of information so that I could present a defense. In August of 2012, after our motions had been denied, my attorneys and I walked out of the courtroom, and my attorney said, “We have no defense. She won’t let us say anything. She won’t let us defend you.” And so, we were forced into plea negotiations. But again, I’m not sure why the judge changed her position between October and January; it was inexplicable to me.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what that’s like in the courtroom, when they invoke national security, that the prosecutor can come forward and speak privately with the judge without your defense attorneys being there.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Yeah, I had never heard of such a thing before. But in August, when we made our 75 motions, we thought that the judge would block off two days to hear the 75. In fact, there had been a conversation with the prosecution, and so she blocked off an hour to hear the 75 motions. So we knew we were in trouble. And then, at the very start of the hearing, the prosecutor got up and said that he was requesting a Rule 4 conversation. I didn’t know what this was. My attorneys objected and said, “If you don’t want the defendant to hear, at least allow us to hear so that we can represent his interests.” And the judge said, “No, this is a national security case. I’m allowed an ex parte communication with the prosecutors.” So the prosecutors went up to the bench. We could hear them whispering. They came back to their table, and the judge said, “All 75 motions are denied.” And that was the end of it. We got up, and we walked out of court. And my attorneys said, “We have to negotiate a plea.”

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Jesselyn—

JOHN KIRIAKOU: It was extremely disheartening.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Jesselyn Radack, I wanted to ask about the legal implications of this case and how it fits into the treatment of government whistleblowers under the Obama administration.

JESSELYN RADACK: Absolutely. To get to the point you just raised with John, I think the reason Judge Brinkema changed her opinion between October and last week is because the government submitted a secret statement that John was not allowed to see that played a large role in the sentencing hearing, but neither the public nor the defendant were allowed to see the statement, which is very Kafkaesque.

But in the grander scheme, the prosecution of John Kiriakou and the war on whistleblowers, using the heavy handed Espionage Act, by charging people who dare to tell the truth as being enemies of the state, sends a very chilling message. And Judge Brinkema herself acknowledged that a strong message had to be sent, that secrets must be kept. But apparently, that only applies to people who are trying to reveal government abuses and illegality, because all of the people in the White House and the CIA who revealed classified information and—of undercover identities to the makers of a Hollywood film, Zero Dark Thirty, have done so with impunity and with lavish praise. So—

AMY GOODMAN: Wait, can you say—can you say specifically what you’re talking about, Jesselyn Radack?

JESSELYN RADACK: Yes. Specifically, the White House and the CIA were very involved in the making of Zero Dark Thirty, which pretends to be some kind of neutral film that implies torture led to the capture of Osama bin Laden, which it absolutely did not. In that process, a high-level Defense Department official, Michael Vickers, revealed the identity of an undercover Special Operations Command officer, but was not held to account for that. And the CIA revealed numerous classified pieces of information, including sources and methods. So when—yeah?

AMY GOODMAN: Keep going.

JESSELYN RADACK: So when the United States talks about the sanctity of keeping secrets, and both the judge and multiple statements by United States officials discussed that, they are the biggest leakers of all. And they do so with impunity.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to talk about another whistleblower targeted by the Obama administration who has been former National Security Agency analyst. He’s Thomas Drake. He worked for the NSA for nearly seven years before blowing the whistle. Thomas Drake appeared on Democracy Now! last March.

THOMAS DRAKE: The critical thing that I discovered was not just the massive fraud, waste and abuse, but also the fact that NSA had chosen to ignore a 23-year legal regime, which had been established in 1978, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, with a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and which, at NSA, during the time that I was not only at NSA but also in the military flying on RC-135s overseas during the latter part of the Cold War, it was a contract, the one thing you did not do. It was the prime directive of NSA. It was the—the—First Amendment at NSA, which is, you do not spy on Americans—

AMY GOODMAN: And what did you find?

THOMAS DRAKE: —without a warrant. I found, much to my horror, that they had tossed out that legal regime, that it was the excuse of 9/11, which I was told was: Exigent conditions now prevailed, we essentially can do anything. We opened up Pandora’s box. We’re going to turn the United States of America into the equivalent of a foreign nation for the purpose of a—of dragnet, blanket electronic surveillance.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s former National Security Agency analyst Thomas Drake. Jesselyn Radack, he is one of your clients. What happened to him?

JESSELYN RADACK: Yes, I represented both Tom Drake and John Kiriakou. The government dropped all 10 felony counts against Tom Drake, and he pled guilty to a minor misdemeanor, the equivalent of a parking ticket. I find it appalling that the two men who revealed the biggest scandals of the Bush administration—namely warrantless wiretapping and torture—are the only two who have been criminally prosecuted for it, and not the people who secretly surveiled the communications of Americans, and not the people who were involved in the torture program, all of whom have been conferred immunity by either the president or by acts of Congress.

AMY GOODMAN: John Kiriakou, you’re now—we are now—the president is President Obama. Did you see a change between President Obama and his predecessor, President Bush? And also, when you were talking about John Brennan, do you think he should head the CIA? What message do think that sends? And what has changed in the last four years, when he withdrew his name for consideration?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: In 2010, when my book came out, I was giving a speech in Los Angeles, and a woman asked me a question about the difference between President Obama and President Bush. And I’ll never forget the question, because it was just so crazy. She said, “Can you explain the CIA’s position on the jihadization of American foreign policy under President Obama?” And I laughed, and I said, “Ma’am, with all due respect, President Obama’s foreign policy is an extension of President Bush’s foreign policy. If there’s any difference at all, President Obama is killing more people overseas than President Bush ever did.” So, no, I don’t think there’s any difference at all between the Bush foreign policy and the Obama foreign policy, which I think really is a shame for us, because there was a wonderful opportunity to take a different path and to reclaim our position as a moral leader in the world. So I’m disappointed in that.

With regard to John Brennan, I’ve known John Brennan since 1990. I worked directly for John Brennan twice. I think that he is a terrible choice to lead the CIA. I think that it’s time for the CIA to move beyond the ugliness of the post-September 11th regime, and we need someone who is going to respect the Constitution and to not be bogged down by a legacy of torture. I think that President Obama’s appointment of John Brennan sends the wrong message to all Americans.

AMY GOODMAN: You worked with him, directly for him. Did Brennan receive regular internal CIA updates about the progress of torture techniques, including waterboarding, as Reuters is reporting?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: I worked for him when he was a—an analytic manager. It was before he really hit the big time under George Tenet. But again, I think that it’s impossible for him to not have gotten these briefings, for him to not have been intimately involved in the policy, by virtue of his senior positions, some of the senior-most positions in the CIA. It’s just impossible that he didn’t know what was going on.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou, you’ll shortly be going to prison. Do you know exactly when your prison sentence will begin? And how are you preparing for this? You’re the father of five children.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: I’m the father of five. I don’t know exactly when this will be. It will be sometime in the next four to six weeks. I’ll have to report to a prison somewhere. I don’t know where. It’s, frankly, very hard to prepare. You have to do things like arrange a power of attorney, arrange child care. I mean, there are so many things to do, it’s just overwhelming. My wife, thank God, is very strong and very tough and very supportive. And we are treating this like temporary duty overseas. It was not unusual for me to go overseas for many months at a time, sometimes as long as two years at a time, two-and-a-half years. So we’re treating this like an overseas deployment. I can call my children virtually every day. If I’m close enough, they can come and visit me. And I’m just hoping for the best.

AMY GOODMAN: How old are your kids, John?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: I have two sons from a first marriage who are 19 and 16, and then my wife and I have three children: an eight-year-old boy, a six-year-old girl and one-year-old boy.

AMY GOODMAN: And what do they understand?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Well, they know that I’ve been involved in a fight with the FBI for the last year. And I told them, “You know I’ve been fighting the FBI. And unfortunately, I lost. And so, because I lost, my punishment is I’m going to have to go away for a couple of years, and I’m going to try to teach bad guys how to get their high school diplomas. And when I’m all done with that, I’ll come home, and we’ll live as a family, and everything’s going to be OK again.”

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou, quickly, before we conclude, what advice would you give to whistleblowers now, given what’s happened in your case?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: I made mistakes in my case. I would say, first, go through the chain of command, which I didn’t do, I should have done. I would say, if you get no satisfaction through your chain of command, go to the congressional oversight committees. But do not remain silent. If you see waste, fraud, abuse or illegality, shout it from the rooftops, whether it’s internally or to Congress.

AMY GOODMAN: John, we’re going to have to leave it there. Thank you so much for being with us. John Kiriakou spent 14 years at the CIA as an analyst and case officer. He’s going to jail for two-and-a-half years.

Ex-CIA Agent, Whistleblower John Kiriakou Sentenced to Prison While Torturers He Exposed Walk Free

Former CIA agent John Kiriakou speaks out just days after he was sentenced to 30 months in prison, becoming the first CIA official to face jail time for any reason relating to the U.S. torture program. Under a plea deal, Kiriakou admitted to a single count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing the identity of a covert officer to a freelance reporter, who did not publish it. Supporters say Kiriakou is being unfairly targeted for having been the first CIA official to publicly confirm and detail the Bush administration’s use of waterboarding. Kiriakou joins us to discuss his story from Washington, D.C., along with his attorney, Jesselyn Radack, director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project. “This … was not a case about leaking; this was a case about torture. And I believe I’m going to prison because I blew the whistle on torture,” Kiriakou says. “My oath was to the Constitution. … And to me, torture is unconstitutional.” [inlcudes rush transcriptNERMEEN SHAIKH: A retired CIA agent who blew the whistle on the agency’s Bush-era torture program has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. John Kiriakou becomes the first CIA official to be jailed for any reason relating to the torture program. Under a plea deal, Kiriakou admitted to a single count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing the identity of a covert officer to a freelance reporter, who did not publish it. Under the plea deal, prosecutors dropped charges brought under the Espionage Act.

Find this story at 30 January 2013

In 2007, Kiriakou became the first CIA official to publicly confirm and detail the Bush administration’s use of waterboarding when he spoke to ABC’s Brian Ross.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: At the time, I felt that waterboarding was something that we needed to do. And as time has passed and as September 11th has—you know, has moved farther and farther back into history, I think I’ve changed my mind, and I think that waterboarding is probably something that we shouldn’t be in the business of doing.

BRIAN ROSS: Why do you say that now?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Because we’re Americans, and we’re better than that.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou’s supporters say he has been unfairly targeted in the Obama administration’s crackdown on government whistleblowers. In a statement urging President Obama to commute Kiriakou’s sentence, a group of signatories including attorneys and former CIA officers said, quote, “[Kiriakou] is an anti-torture whistleblower who spoke out against torture because he believed it violated his oath to the Constitution. … Please, Mr. President, do not allow your legacy to be one where only the whistleblower goes to prison.”

Prosecutor Neil MacBride, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, defended the government’s handling of the case.

NEIL MacBRIDE: As the judge just said in court, today’s sentence should be a reminder to every individual who works for the government, who comes into the possession of closely held sensitive information regarding the national defense or the identity of a covert agent, that it is critical that that information remain secure and not spill out into the public domain or be shared with others who don’t have authorized access to it.

AMY GOODMAN: John Kiriakou joins us now from Washington, D.C. He spent 14 years at the CIA as an analyst and a case officer. In 2002, he led the team that found Abu Zubaydah, a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda. He’s father of five. In 2010, he published a memoir entitled The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror.

And we’re joined by one of John Kirakou’s attorneys, Jesselyn Radack. She’s the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project, a former ethics adviser to the United States Department of Justice.

We reached out to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia, but they declined our request for an interview.

John Kiriakou, why are you going to jail? Explain the plea deal you made with the government.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Well, thanks, first of all, for having me and giving me the opportunity to explain.

I’m going to prison, ostensibly, for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. I believe, and my supporters believe, that this, however, was not a case about leaking; this was a case about torture. And I believe I’m going to prison because I blew the whistle on torture. I’ve been a thorn in the CIA’s side since that interview in 2007, in which I said that waterboarding was torture and that it was official U.S. government policy. And I think, finally, the Justice Department caught up with me.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Jesselyn Radack, let me just bring you into the conversation to explain what the Intelligence Identities Protection Act is. Your client, John Kiriakou—it’s been invoked in his case for the first time in 27 years?

JESSELYN RADACK: That’s correct. In fact, there have only been two convictions under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which was enacted to prevent cases like Philip Agee, not things like John Kiriakou. It was to prevent the revealing of covert identities for profit or to aid the enemy. In this case, John confirmed the name of a torturer to a journalist, which makes Neil MacBride’s statement all the more hypocritical, because the biggest leaker of classified information, including sources and methods and undercover identities, has been the U.S. government.

AMY GOODMAN: John Kiriakou, explain what it is that you were trying to expose. Explain what you were involved with. Talk about Abu Zubaydah, your involvement in the finding of him, and then the course you took, where your conscience took you.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Sure. In 2002, I was the chief of counterterrorism operations for the CIA in Pakistan, and my job was to try to locate al-Qaeda fighters or al-Qaeda leaders and capture them, to turn them over to the Justice Department and have them face trial. That was the original—the original idea, not to have them sit in Cuba for the next decade.

But we caught Abu Zubaydah. He was shot three times by Pakistani police as he was trying to escape from his safe house. And I was the first person to have custody of him, to sit with him. We spoke to each other extensively, I mean, talked about everything from September 11th to poetry that he had been writing, to his family. And then he was moved on to a secret prison after that. Once I got back to headquarters, I heard that he had been subject to harsh techniques, then euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and I was asked by one of the leaders in the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center if I wanted to be trained in the use of these techniques. I told him that I had a moral problem with them, and I did not want to be involved.

So, fast-forward to 2007. By then, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had reported that al-Qaeda prisoners had been tortured, and ABC News called and said that they had information that I had tortured Abu Zubaydah. I said that was absolutely untrue. I was the only person who was kind to Abu Zubaydah, and I had never tortured anybody. So, they asked me to go on their show and defend myself. I did that. And in the course of the interview, I said that not only was the CIA torturing prisoners, but that it was official U.S. government policy. This was not the result of some rogue CIA officer just beating up a prisoner every once in a while; this was official policy that went all the way up to the president of the United States.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And so, what happened after that, in 2007, once you gave this interview? Can you explain what happened to you and to your family?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Sure. Within 24 hours, the CIA filed what’s called a crimes report against me with the Justice Department, saying that I had revealed classified information, which was the torture program, and asking for an investigation with an eye toward prosecuting me. The Justice Department decided at the time that I had not revealed classified information, that the information was already in the public domain. But immediately, within weeks, I was audited by the IRS. I’ve been audited by the IRS every single year since giving that interview in 2007.

But a more important bit of fallout from that interview was that every time I would write an op-ed, every time I would give a television interview or give a speech at a university, the CIA would file a crimes report against me, accusing me of leaking additional classified information. Each time, the Justice Department determined that I did not leak any classified information. In fact, I would get those op-eds and those speeches cleared by the CIA’s Publications Review Board in advance.

Then the CIA started harassing my wife, who at the time was a senior CIA officer, particularly over an op-ed I had written. They accused her of leaking classified information to me for the purpose of writing the op-ed. Well, I said I had gotten the information in the op-ed from two UPI reports and from a South American Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. And they would back off.

But this sort of became our life. We would be under FBI surveillance. She would be called into the CIA’s Office of Security. I would have trouble getting a security clearance when I went to Capitol Hill. It just became this pattern of harassment.

AMY GOODMAN: So, John, why didn’t you stop?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Because I think that—that torture is something that needs to be discussed. I said this in 2007. This is something that we should—about which we should be having a national debate. And frankly, I have a First Amendment right to free speech. And, you know, writing an op-ed is not against the law. Giving a speech about the Arab Spring or about torture is not against the law. And I felt that—that I didn’t want to be cowed. I didn’t want to be frightened into silence by the CIA.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, John Kiriakou, you said that in these instances that you’ve named, you were actually charged with espionage, is that right? Can you talk about the significance—

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Yes.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: —of the Espionage Act?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Yes, the government initially charged me with three counts of espionage. I’m—it sounds silly maybe, but I’m still personally offended by these espionage charges, which were dropped, of course. The espionage charge is used as a hammer by the administration to force people into silence. My espionage charge is related to a conversation that I had with a New York Times reporter. A New York Times reporter approached me and said that he was writing a story about a colleague of mine, and would I grant him an interview. I gave him the interview. I said this colleague was a great guy, the unsung hero of the Abu Zubaydah operation, terrific officer. And the reporter said, “Do you know how I can get in touch with him?” And I said, “No, I’ve been out of touch with him for a while, but I think I might have his business card.” So I gave the reporter the business card. Now, mind you, this is a CIA officer who had never, ever been undercover. His business card showed that he was involved as a CIA contractor, and it had his personal email on it and his cellphone number. I gave the reporter the business card and was charged with two counts of espionage. I later gave the same business card to another journalist who was doing an article and was charged with a third count of espionage.

AMY GOODMAN: What is it that you allege the CIA was doing for all of these years? Explain the torture program that you were trying to expose.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Sure. There were—there were something like 10 different techniques that were used in the CIA’s torture program. They went from the benign, you know, where an officer would grab a prisoner by the lapels and give him a shake, all the way up to the really rough things that we’ve heard about, like waterboarding or, what I think is worse, sleep deprivation or the cold cell, where they’ll put a prisoner naked in a cell chilled to 50 or 55 degrees, and then every hour or two throw ice water on him. I actually think those last two are worse than waterboarding.

But, again, these are techniques that we have condemned other countries for throughout history. The Japanese did this during the Second World War. The Belgians did it in Africa earlier in the century. The Chinese and the Vietnamese did it. This is—these are techniques that we have always said were crimes against humanity. And then it was the—it was though after September 11th everything changed, and we somehow had license to do the same things we had been condemning. I thought that was wrong. You know, Director Petraeus—former Director Petraeus made a statement in October when I agreed to take a plea to make these other charges go away, and he said that my conviction shows that we have to take our oaths seriously. Well, I took my oath seriously. My oath was to the Constitution. On my first day in the CIA, I put my right hand up, and I swore to uphold the Constitution. And to me, torture is unconstitutional, and it’s something that we should not be in the business of doing.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou, I want to play for you comments President Obama made four years ago, shortly before he took office, about whether CIA officials involved in torture should be prosecuted. He appeared on the ABC News’ This Week.

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that—for example, at the CIA, you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don’t want them to suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So no 9/11 Commission with independent subpoena power?

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: You know, we have not made final decisions, but my instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that, moving forward, we are doing the right thing.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was President Obama speaking four years ago to ABC. John Kiriakou, your response to what the presient said?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: I supported the president’s response. I remember that interview, and I thought, “OK, he’s right. There are wonderful, talented, hard-working men and women at the CIA who need to be protected.” But at the same time, it’s one thing to look forward; it’s another thing to look forward just for the torturers. It’s just not fair. It’s not fair to the American people. If we’re going to—if we’re going to make prosecutions or initiate prosecutions, those prosecutions can’t just be against the people who blew the whistle on the torture or who opposed the torture. You know, we haven’t—we haven’t even investigated the torturers, as Jesselyn said. We haven’t initiated any actions against the people who conceived of the torture and implemented the policy, or against the man who destroyed evidence of the torture, or against the attorneys who used specious legal arguments to justify the torture. If we’re going to move forward, let’s move forward, but you can’t target one person or two people who blew the whistle.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou, you’ve also spoken about witnessing new Foreign Service officers being confirmed, Foreign Service officers who were previously with the CIA and participated in acts of torture. Could you explain what happened and explain its significance?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Yes. When I was a senior investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I was approached by a journalist who said that he had evidence that the CIA was misusing its cover agreement with the State Department to place people involved in the torture program under State Department cover so that their names could not be exposed in the press. And if those names were exposed in the press, the people giving the names would be subject to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. So, again, this was a violation of the CIA-State Department cover agreement. I sent a letter under Senator John Kerry—then-Senator John Kerry’s signature, asking the CIA for clarification. I got a response about six weeks later that was classified top-secret, so I was not permitted to see the response. I did not have a top-secret clearance at the time. And a colleague of mine told me that the letter essentially said, in very strongly worded language, to mind my own business.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to go to break. When we come back, we want to ask you about President Obama’s nominee to become the next head of the CIA, John Brennan, because as you talk about the administration, we’re talking actually about administrations, from the Bush administration to the Obama administration. Our guest is about to go to jail. His name is John Kiriakou. He’s about to serve two-and-a-half years in jail. This will be one of his last interviews before he goes to prison. We’re joined also by Jesselyn Radack, who is one of his attorneys. Stay with us.]

 

 

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou given more than two years in prison

Judge says former intelligence officer who exposed aspects of use of torture should have been jailed for longer

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou leaves a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The former CIA officer John Kiriakou was sentenced Friday to more than two years in prison, by a federal judge who rejected arguments that he was acting as a whistleblower when he leaked a covert officer’s name to a reporter. A plea deal required the judge to impose a sentence of two and a half years. US district judge Leonie Brinkema said she would have given Kiriakou much more time if she could.

Kiriakou’s supporters describe him as a whistleblower who exposed aspects of the CIA’s use of torture against detained terrorists. Prosecutors said Kiriakou was merely seeking to increase his fame and public stature by trading on his insider knowledge. The 48-year-old Arlington resident pleaded guilty last year to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. No one had been convicted under the law in 27 years.

Kiriakou was an intelligence officer with the CIA from 1990 until 2004. He served overseas and at headquarters in Langley. In 2002, Kiriakou played a key role in the agency’s capture of the al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan. Abu Zubaydah, who was waterboarded by government interrogators, revealed information that led to the arrest of “dirty bomb” plotter Jose Padilla and exposed Khalid Sheikh Mohamed as the mastermind of the 11 September 2001 terror attacks.

Accounts conflict, however, over whether the waterboarding was helpful in gleaning intelligence from Zubaydah, who was also interrogated conventionally.

Kiriakou, who did not participate in the waterboarding, expressed ambivalence in news media interviews about waterboarding, but ultimately declared it was torture. His 2007 interviews about the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah were among the first by a CIA insider confirming reports that several detainees, including Abu Zubaydah, had been waterboarded.

Associated Press in Alexandria, Virginia
guardian.co.uk, Friday 25 January 2013 16.00 GMT

Find this story at 25 January 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

John Kiriakou and the Real Story Behind Obama’s Latest Leak Crackdown

How a discovery in a Gitmo detainee’s cell led to charges against ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou.

On Monday, the Justice Department charged former CIA officer and author John Kiriakou [1] with repeatedly “disclosing classified information to journalists, including the name of a covert CIA officer and information revealing the role of another CIA employee in classified activities.” (Read the criminal complaint.)

Kiriakou began making the media rounds in late 2007, when he went on the record [2] about waterboarding techniques used in the War on Terror, particularly in connection to the torture of Abu Zubaydah in a secret prison in Thailand. (It was later revealed [3] that Kiriakou was not actually present for that interrogation, as he had previously implied.)

If you’ve been reading Mother Jones, a lot of the content in the criminal complaint against Kiriakou [4] will seem familiar. The main charges stem from a bizarre episode we reported on a [5] couple years ago: In 2008 or early 2009, attorneys for alleged 9/11 conspirators held at Guantanamo Bay obtained—and showed to their clients—photo lineups that included pictures of CIA officers and contractors. The source of the photos was John Sifton [5], a private investigator working for the American Civil Liberties Union’s John Adams Project, an outfit set up to provide civilian defense lawyers to the Gitmo defendants. In some cases, Sifton clandestinely photographed CIA officers who were thought to have been involved in the brutal interrogations of the 9/11 defendants.

The purpose of presenting the photo lineups to the detainees was to identify the alleged torturers in order to make the case that the detainees’ statements were coerced. As multiple sources told Mother Jones in 2010, the defense lawyers didn’t know which of the individuals in the photo lineups were believed to be CIA officers. The detainees, meanwhile, would have no way of knowing which of the people were CIA employees unless they recognized them from interrogations. The lineups were “double blind,” a fact confirmed in the criminal complaint.

But there was still the issue of how Sifton identified the people he thought were involved in the interrogations. That’s where Kiriakou comes in: He’s accused of providing the identities of several CIA officers to journalists, one of whom passed information on to a “defense investigator” whose activities match Sifton’s. (The complaint specifically mentions investigators “interviewing” the “defense investigator” and uses the phrase “learned from the defense investigator.”) Here’s the key paragraph of the criminal complaint:

No law or military commission order expressly prohibited defense counsel from providing their clients with the photographic spreads in question under these circumstances. However, the fact that a defense investigator had learned the classified information, including the information necessary to take and/or assemble these photographs, suggested that the information may have been either deliberately or inadvertently disclosed, without authorization, in a manner that ultimately resulted in the defense team’s possession of the classified information.

The CIA didn’t take long to find out about Sifton’s work. In the spring of 2009, some of the photos were discovered in the cell of Mustafa Ahmad al Hawsawi, an accused Al Qaeda financier and one of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s four co-defendants. The criminal complaint against Kiriakou also indicates that a defense filing in early 2009 contained classified information that the government hadn’t provided to the defense.

When the CIA found out about the photos, top intelligence officials were furious, believing the defense lawyers had potentially placed the lives of covert officers at risk. The CIA’s then-general counsel John Rizzo demanded an investigation [6]. He later described the incident [6] as “far more serious than Valerie Plame,” referring to the Bush-era leak of an operative’s covert status. Rizzo wasn’t alone in his concerns. “This is an agency that has reasons to be concerned as to whether or not somebody’s got their back,” another high-ranking former intelligence official told Mother Jones [7]. “It’s always operating out there on the edge, not unlawfully, but generally at the farthest reaches of executive prerogative.”

In response to the CIA’s complaints, the Justice Department launched a probe, but the agency and congressional Republicans were unhappy with the results of the first investigation, which looked likely to clear the Gitmo defense lawyers of wrongdoing. Then the Obama administration called in famed US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who handled the Plame investigation and prosecuted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, to take over the probe.

Sifton and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

The charges are just the latest crackdown by the Obama administration on alleged leakers. This is the sixth time during the Obama administration that prosecutors have filed charges pertaining to the unauthorized disclosure of classified national security information to media outlets. (In the previous four decades, the US government has pursued such cases on only three occasions [8].) Under the Espionage Act, the Obama administration has gone after media sources including Stephen Kim [9], an arms expert accused of passing along classified information to a Fox News reporter; NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake (who was profiled in an exhaustive New Yorker story by Jane Mayer [10]), and alleged Wikileaks source Bradley Manning [11], among others.

By Nick Baumann and Asawin Suebsaeng | Mon Jan. 23, 2012 2:23 PM PST

Find this story at 23 January 2013

Copyright ©2013 Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress. All Rights Reserved.

Ex-Officer Is First From C.I.A. to Face Prison for a Leak

WASHINGTON — Looking back, John C. Kiriakou admits he should have known better. But when the F.B.I. called him a year ago and invited him to stop by and “help us with a case,” he did not hesitate.

In his years as a C.I.A. operative, after all, Mr. Kiriakou had worked closely with F.B.I. agents overseas. Just months earlier, he had reported to the bureau a recruiting attempt by someone he believed to be an Asian spy.

“Anything for the F.B.I.,” Mr. Kiriakou replied.

Only an hour into what began as a relaxed chat with the two agents — the younger one who traded Pittsburgh Steelers talk with him and the senior investigator with the droopy eye — did he begin to realize just who was the target of their investigation.

Finally, the older agent leaned in close and said, by Mr. Kiriakou’s recollection, “In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that right now we’re executing a search warrant at your house and seizing your electronic devices.”

On Jan. 25, Mr. Kiriakou is scheduled to be sentenced to 30 months in prison as part of a plea deal in which he admitted violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by e-mailing the name of a covert C.I.A. officer to a freelance reporter, who did not publish it. The law was passed in 1982, aimed at radical publications that deliberately sought to out undercover agents, exposing their secret work and endangering their lives.

In more than six decades of fraught interaction between the agency and the news media, John Kiriakou is the first current or former C.I.A. officer to be convicted of disclosing classified information to a reporter.

Mr. Kiriakou, 48, earned numerous commendations in nearly 15 years at the C.I.A., some of which were spent undercover overseas chasing Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. He led the team in 2002 that found Abu Zubaydah, a terrorist logistics specialist for Al Qaeda, and other militants whose capture in Pakistan was hailed as a notable victory after the Sept. 11 attacks.

He got mixed reviews at the agency, which he left in 2004 for a consulting job. Some praised his skills, first as an analyst and then as an overseas operative; others considered him a loose cannon.

Mr. Kiriakou first stumbled into the public limelight by speaking out about waterboarding on television in 2007, quickly becoming a source for national security journalists, including this reporter, who turned up in Mr. Kiriakou’s indictment last year as Journalist B. When he gave the covert officer’s name to the freelancer, he said, he was simply trying to help a writer find a potential source and had no intention or expectation that the name would ever become public. In fact, it did not surface publicly until long after Mr. Kiriakou was charged.

He is remorseful, up to a point. “I should never have provided the name,” he said on Friday in the latest of a series of interviews. “I regret doing it, and I never will do it again.”

At the same time, he argues, with the backing of some former agency colleagues, that the case — one of an unprecedented string of six prosecutions under President Obama for leaking information to the news media — was unfair and ill-advised as public policy.

His supporters are an unlikely collection of old friends, former spies, left-leaning critics of the government and conservative Christian opponents of torture. Oliver Stone sent a message of encouragement, as did several professors at Liberty University, where Mr. Kiriakou has taught. They view the case as an outrage against a man who risked his life to defend the country.

Whatever his loquaciousness with journalists, they say, he neither intended to damage national security nor did so. Some see a particular injustice in the impending imprisonment of Mr. Kiriakou, who in his first 2007 appearance on ABC News defended the agency’s resort to desperate measures but also said that he had come to believe that waterboarding was torture and should no longer be used in American interrogations.

Bruce Riedel, a retired veteran C.I.A. officer who led an Afghan war review for Mr. Obama and turned down an offer to be considered for C.I.A. director in 2009, said Mr. Kiriakou, who worked for him in the 1990s, was “an exceptionally good intelligence officer” who did not deserve to go to prison.

“To me, the irony of this whole thing is, very simply, that he’s going to be the only C.I.A. officer to go to jail over torture,” even though he publicly denounced torture, Mr. Riedel said. “It’s deeply ironic under the Democratic president who ended torture.”

John A. Rizzo, a senior C.I.A. lawyer for three decades, said that he did not believe Mr. Kiriakou set out to harm national security or endanger anyone, but that his violation was serious.

“I think he wanted to be a big shot,” Mr. Rizzo said. “I don’t think he was evil. But it’s not a trivial thing to reveal a name.”

The leak prosecutions have been lauded on Capitol Hill as a long-overdue response to a rash of dangerous disclosures and have been defended by both Mr. Obama and his attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr. But their aides say neither man ordered the crackdown, and the cases appear to have resulted less from a conscious policy change than from the proliferation of e-mail, which makes it possible to trace the origin of some disclosures without pressuring journalists to identify confidential sources.

When Mr. Kiriakou pleaded guilty on Oct. 23 in federal court in Alexandria, Va., David H. Petraeus, then the C.I.A. director, issued a statement praising the prosecution as “an important victory for our agency, for our intelligence community, and for our country.”

“Oaths do matter,” he went on, “and there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate with the requisite degree of secrecy.”

Less than three weeks later, e-mails tripped up Mr. Petraeus himself. He resigned after F.B.I. agents carrying out an unrelated investigation discovered, upon examining his private e-mail account, that he had had an extramarital affair.

Neil H. MacBride, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, hailed Mr. Kiriakou’s conviction in a statement: “The government has a vital interest in protecting the identities of those involved in covert operations. Leaks of highly sensitive, closely held and classified information compromise national security and can put individual lives in danger.”

The leak case is a devastating turn for Mr. Kiriakou, a father of five who considers himself a patriot, a proud Greek-American from Pennsylvania steel country whose grandfather, he recalls, “always talked as if F.D.R. personally admitted him to this country.” Discovering a passion for international affairs, he scrounged scholarships to go to George Washington University, where he was recruited by a professor, a former C.I.A. psychiatrist who spotted talent for the agency.

After he was charged last January, his wife, though accused of no wrongdoing, resigned under pressure from her C.I.A. job as a top Iran specialist. The family had to go on food stamps for several months before she got a new job outside the government. To make ends meet, they rented out their spacious house in Arlington, Va., and moved to a rented bungalow a third the size with their three young children (he has two older children from his first marriage).

Their financial woes were complicated by Mr. Kiriakou’s legal fees. He said he had paid his defense lawyers more than $100,000 and still owed them $500,000; the specter of additional, bankrupting legal fees, along with the risk of a far longer prison term that could separate him from his wife and children for a decade or more, prompted him to take the plea offer, he said.

Despite his distress about the charges and the havoc they have wrought for his family, he sometimes still speaks with reverence of the C.I.A. and its mission.

But the same qualities that worked well for him in his time as a risk-taking intelligence officer, trained to form a bond with potential recruits, may have been his undoing in his post-C.I.A. role as an intelligence expert sought out by reporters.

“Your job as a case officer is to recruit spies to steal secrets — plain and simple,” Mr. Kiriakou said. “You have to convince people you are their best friend. That wasn’t hard for me. I’d say half the people I recruited I could be lifelong friends with, even though some were communists, criminals and terrorists. I love people. I love getting to know them. I love hearing their stories and telling them stories.

“That’s all great if you’re a case officer,” he said. “It’s not so great, it turns out, if you’re a former case officer.”

Mixed Feelings

After Mr. Kiriakou first appeared on ABC, talking with Brian Ross in some detail about waterboarding, many Washington reporters sought him out. I was among them. He was the first C.I.A. officer to speak about the procedure, considered a notorious torture method since the Inquisition but declared legal by the Justice Department in secret opinions that were later withdrawn.

While he had spent hours with Abu Zubaydah after the capture, he had not been present when Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded, a fact he made clear to me and some other interviewers. But based on what he had heard and read at the agency, he told ABC and other news organizations that Abu Zubaydah had stopped resisting after just 30 or 35 seconds of the suffocating procedure and told interrogators all he knew.

That was grossly inaccurate — the prisoner was waterboarded some 83 times, it turned out. Mr. Kiriakou believes that he and other C.I.A. officers were deliberately misled by other agency officers who knew the truth.

Mr. Kiriakou, who has given The New York Times permission to describe previously confidential conversations, came across as friendly, courteous, disarmingly candid — and deeply ambivalent about what the C.I.A. called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

He spoke about his career: starting as an analyst on the Middle East at headquarters in Virginia; later being stationed in Bahrain; making the unusual switch to the “operations” side of the C.I.A.; and serving stints as a counterterrorism officer under cover, first in Greece and later in Pakistan (he speaks fluent Greek and Arabic).

When terrorists blew up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, killing 19 American servicemen, the blast blew out his apartment windows in Bahrain 16 miles away across the water. Twice overseas, he had close calls with terrorists who were trying to kill Western officials.

He said he had been offered the chance to be trained in the harsh interrogation methods but turned it down. Even though he had concluded that waterboarding was indeed torture, he felt that the C.I.A.’s critics, inflamed by the new revelation that videotapes of the interrogations had been destroyed, were being unduly harsh in judging actions taken in the hectic months after Sept. 11 when more attacks seemed imminent.

“I think the second-guessing of 2002 decisions is unfair,” he said in our first conversation. “2002 was a different world than 2007. What I think is fair is having a national debate over whether we should be waterboarding.”

His feelings about waterboarding were so mixed that some 2007 news reports cast him as a critic of C.I.A. torture, while others portrayed him as a defender of the agency. Some human rights activists even suspected — wrongly, as it turned out — that the intelligence agency was orchestrating his public comments.

Mr. Kiriakou seemed shellshocked, and perhaps a little intoxicated, by the flood of publicity his remarks on ABC had received and the dozens of interview requests coming his way. We met for lunch a couple of times in Washington and spoke by phone occasionally. He recounted his experiences in Pakistan — the C.I.A. later allowed him to include much of that material in his 2009 memoir, “The Reluctant Spy” — and readily answered questions about agency lore or senior officials with whom he had worked.

But he occasionally demurred when the subject was too sensitive. I could use information he gave me “on background” — that is, without mentioning him. But we would have to agree explicitly on anything I attributed to him by name, standard ground rules for such relationships.

In 2008, when I began working on an article about the interrogation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, I asked him about an interrogator whose name I had heard: Deuce Martinez. He said that they had worked together to catch Abu Zubaydah, and that he would be a great source on Mr. Mohammed, the architect of the Sept. 11 attacks.

He was able to dig up the business card Mr. Martinez had given him with contact information at Mitchell Jessen and Associates, the C.I.A. contractor that helped devise the interrogation program and Mr. Martinez’s new employer.

Mr. Martinez, an analyst by training, was retired and had never served under cover; that is, he had never posed as a diplomat or a businessman while overseas. He had placed his home address, his personal e-mail address, his job as an intelligence officer and other personal details on a public Web site for the use of students at his alma mater. Abu Zubaydah had been captured six years earlier, Mr. Mohammed five years earlier; their stories were far from secret.

Mr. Martinez never agreed to talk to me. But a few e-mail exchanges with Mr. Kiriakou as I hunted for his former colleague would eventually turn up in Mr. Kiriakou’s indictment; he was charged with revealing to me that Mr. Martinez had participated in the operation to catch Abu Zubaydah, a fact that the government said was classified.

Tensions Over Secrecy

Nothing about my exchanges with Mr. Kiriakou was unusual for a reporter covering intelligence agencies, though he was certainly on the candid end of the spectrum of former C.I.A. officers. Current officials are almost always less willing to speak than retirees. And former rank-and-file officers are usually more reluctant to speak than their bosses, who are more confident in walking up to — or occasionally crossing over — the borders protecting classified information.

Why do officials talk about ostensibly secret programs? Sometimes the motive is self-aggrandizement, or to promote a personal or political agenda. But many officials talk because they feel Americans have a right to know, within limits, what the government is doing with their money and in their name.

There is wide agreement in the government that too much information is classified, and even senior officials are sometimes uncertain about what is secret.

In Senate testimony last July, for example, Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director from 2006 to 2009, admitted that he was perplexed by the “dilemma” over what he was or was not permitted to say, in this case about the targeted killing of Qaeda operatives using drones — officially classified but reported in the news media every day and occasionally discussed by Mr. Obama.

“So much of that is in the public domain that right now this witness, with my experience, I am unclear what of my personal knowledge of this activity I can or cannot discuss publicly,” Mr. Hayden said. “That’s how muddled this has become.”

The trade-offs and tensions over government secrets in a democracy are nothing new. In 1971, when the Nixon administration went to court to try to stop The New York Times from publishing the Pentagon Papers, a classified history of the Vietnam War, Max Frankel, then the Washington bureau chief for The Times, filed an affidavit on how officials and reporters exchange secrets.

“Without the use of ‘secrets’ that I shall attempt to explain in this affidavit, there could be no adequate diplomatic, military and political reporting of the kind our people take for granted, either abroad or in Washington, and there could be no mature system of communication between the government and the people,” Mr. Frankel wrote 42 years ago.

Before Mr. Obama took office, prosecutions for disclosing classified information to the news media had been rare. That was a comforting fact for national security reporters and their sources, but a lamentable one for intelligence officials who complained that leaks damaged intelligence operations, endangered American operatives and their informants and strained relations with allied spy services.

By most counts, there were only three cases until recently: against Daniel Ellsberg and a colleague for leaking the Pentagon Papers in 1971; against Samuel Loring Morison, a Navy intelligence analyst, for selling classified satellite photographs to Jane’s, the military publisher, in 1985; and against Lawrence Franklin, a Defense Department official, who was charged in 2005 with passing secrets to two officials of a pro-Israel lobbying group, who shared some of them with reporters.

Thus Mr. Obama has presided over twice as many such cases as all his predecessors combined, though at least two of the six prosecutions since 2009 resulted from investigations begun under President George W. Bush. An outcry over a series of revelations last year — about American cyberattacks on Iran, a double agent who infiltrated the Qaeda branch in Yemen and procedures for targeted killings — prompted Mr. Holder to begin new leak investigations that have not yet produced any charges.

The resulting chill on officials’ willingness to talk is deplored by journalists and advocates of open government; without leaks, they note, Americans might never have learned about the C.I.A.’s interrogation methods or the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping. But for supporters of greater secrecy, the chill is precisely the goal.

Revealing a Name

From court documents and interviews, it is possible to piece together how the case against Mr. Kiriakou took shape. When he first spoke on ABC in 2007, the C.I.A. sent the Justice Department a “crimes report” — a routine step to alert law enforcement officials to an apparent unauthorized disclosure of classified information. At least half a dozen more referrals went to Justice as he continued to grant interviews covering similar ground.

Shortly after he became a minor media star, Mr. Kiriakou lost his job in business intelligence at Deloitte, the global consulting firm he joined after leaving the C.I.A. He had also begun working with Hollywood filmmakers — visiting Afghanistan, for instance, before advising the producers of “The Kite Runner” that its young male actors should probably be relocated outside the country for their own safety. He was working with a veteran journalist, Michael Ruby, on his memoir and battling the agency’s Publications Review Board, as many C.I.A. authors have, over what he was permitted to write about and what was off limits.

Mr. Rizzo, then a top C.I.A. lawyer, said he recalled some colleagues being upset that Mr. Kiriakou had begun speaking so openly about the interrogation program. “It was fairly brazen — a former agency officer talking on camera,” Mr. Rizzo said. “He started being quoted all over the place. He was commenting on everything.”

Of course, Mr. Kiriakou had plenty of company. More and more C.I.A. retirees were writing books, speaking to reporters or appearing on television. Mr. Rizzo himself became the subject of a Justice Department referral after he spoke to a Newsweek reporter in 2011 about drone strikes, and his own memoir, “The Company’s Man,” is scheduled for publication next year.

Mr. Rizzo said he did not believe that Mr. Kiriakou’s media appearances spurred a serious criminal investigation. “There really wasn’t a campaign against him,” he said.

Then, in 2009, officials were alarmed to discover that defense lawyers for detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had obtained names and photographs of C.I.A. interrogators and other counterterrorism officers, including some who were still under cover. It turned out that the lawyers, working under the name of the John Adams Project, wanted to call the C.I.A. officers as witnesses in future military trials, perhaps to substantiate accounts of torture or harsh treatment.

But initial fears that Al Qaeda might somehow be able to stalk their previous captors drew widespread coverage. This time there was a crimes report, Mr. Rizzo said, that was taken very seriously, both at the C.I.A. and the Justice Department.

F.B.I. agents discovered that a human rights advocate hired by the John Adams Project, John Sifton, had compiled a dossier of photographs and names of the C.I.A. officers; that Mr. Sifton had exchanged e-mails with journalists, including Matthew A. Cole, a freelancer then working on a book about a C.I.A. rendition case in Italy that had gone awry; and that Mr. Cole had exchanged e-mails with Mr. Kiriakou. The F.B.I. used search warrants to obtain access to Mr. Kiriakou’s two personal e-mail accounts.

According to court documents, F.B.I. agents discovered that in August 2008, Mr. Cole — identified as Journalist A in the charging documents — had asked Mr. Kiriakou if he knew the name of a covert officer who had a supervisory role in the rendition program, which involved capturing terrorism suspects and delivering them to prisons in other countries.

Mr. Kiriakou at first said he did not recall the name, but followed up the next day with an e-mail passing on the name and adding, “It came to me last night,” the documents show. (Mr. Sifton, Mr. Cole and federal prosecutors all declined to comment.)

In recent interviews, Mr. Kiriakou said he believed that the covert officer, whom he had last seen in 2002, had retired; in fact, the officer was then working overseas. He had no idea that the name would be passed on to the Guantánamo defense lawyers and end up in a government file, as it did, he said.

When the F.B.I. agents invited Mr. Kiriakou to their Washington office a year ago “to help with a case,” he said, they repeatedly asked him whether he had knowingly disclosed the name of a covert officer. He replied that he had no recollection of having done so; he still insists that was the truth.

“If I’d known the guy was still under cover,” Mr. Kiriakou said, “I would never have mentioned him.”

The officer’s name did not become public in the four years after Mr. Kiriakou sent it to Mr. Cole. It appeared on a whistle-blowing Web site for the first time last October; the source was not clear.

Preparing for Prison

On a chilly recent afternoon, Mr. Kiriakou, in a Steelers jersey, drove his Honda S.U.V. to pick up his son Max, 8, and his daughter Kate, 6, from school, leaving the 14-month-old Charlie at home with a baby sitter.

He and his wife had struggled with how to explain to the children that he is going away, probably in mid-February. They settled on telling the children that “Daddy lost a big fight with the F.B.I.” and would have to live elsewhere for a while. Max cried at the news, Mr. Kiriakou said. He cried again after calculating that his birthday would fall on a weekday, so it would be impossible to make the trip to prison to share the celebration with his father.

The afternoon school pickup has become his routine since he has been out of work. A stint as an investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ended before he was charged; two hedge funds that had him on retainer to provide advice on international security issues dropped him when the charges were filed.

Only Liberty University, the conservative Christian institution founded by Jerry Falwell Sr. in Lynchburg, Va., where Mr. Kiriakou was hired by former C.I.A. officers on the faculty to teach intelligence courses, actually increased the work it offered him when he got in trouble.

“They say torture is un-Christian,” Mr. Kiriakou said, who notes wryly that his fervent supporters now include both the Liberty Christians and an array of left-wing activists.

Last summer, Mr. Kiriakou was teaching a practical course on surveillance and countersurveillance to a group of Liberty students in Washington and had them trail him on foot on the eastern edge of Georgetown, he said. After several passes, the students excitedly told him that they had detected several cars that were also following him — his usual F.B.I. minders, he figured.

When Mr. Kiriakou pleaded guilty in October to sharing the covert officer’s name, the government dropped several other charges, including the disclosure to The Times and a claim that he had lied to the C.I.A.’s Publications Review Board, though those violations remain in an official statement of facts accompanying the plea.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 5, 2013

A summary that appeared with an earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of the former C.I.A. operative. He is John C. Kiriakou, not Kiriako.

January 5, 2013
By SCOTT SHANE

Find this story at 5 January 2013

© 2013 The New York Times Company