crime of telling a journalist a name of a CIA agent.Next week John Kiriakou will head to federal prison in Loretto, Pa., for 30 months for the
Kiriakou, a former CIA agent, is also credited with being the first government official to publicly confirm that the United States engaged in the waterboarding of al Qaeda prisoners. But he wasn’t charged for that. He gave the name of a covert officer to a journalist, he told New York Times reporter Scott Shane, to turn to as a potential source and didn’t think it would be revealed (and it wasn’t until years later). Kiriakou said he mistakenly thought the CIA agent had retired.
Kiriakou agreed to a plea deal in order to eliminate some trumped up federal espionage charges and was found guilty of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. His sentence is the same as that of Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, convicted of various crimes connected to the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name.
Kiriakou, 48, seemed unbowed and almost content at the prospect of prison as he basked in the well wishes of about 100 supporters, who gathered for a posh send-off at the luxury hotel. The guests wore orange jumpsuits and other mock prison garb and serenaded Kiriakou with a reworked version of the protest anthem “Have You Been to Jail for Justice?”
“I’m proud of my career,” said Kiriakou, who lives in Arlington County. “I still love the CIA — crazy as that may sound. . . . I wear my conviction as a badge of honor.”
Let’s hope he’s not expecting President Barack Obama will commute his sentence the way President George W. Bush did for Libby. As Jacob Sullum noted in January, Obama commuted only a single sentence during his first term as president. And given the administration’s own war on transparency and leakers (well, unapproved leakers anyway), the president is probably wishing he could make the sentence even longer.