Ex-CIA Waterboarding Whistleblower Prepares to Head to Prison

John KiriakouSource: ABC NewsNext week John Kiriakou will head to federal prison in Loretto, Pa., for 30 months for the crime of telling a journalist a name of a CIA agent.

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.

Last night supporters of Kiriakou held a party in his honor at the Hay-Adams hotel in Washington, D.C., as he prepares for prison. Via the Washington Post:

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.

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    If you see something, don't say something.

  • Almanian!||

    the administration’s own war on transparency and leakers

    Um, HELLOOOOOO? Most. Transparent. Administration. EVAR.

    The President hisself said so just this week. MOST. Transparent. EVAR. Stop lying, Reason! If that's your REAL name...

  • Almanian!||

    PS That dude looks a bit like Sean Hannity in that still. I fucking HATE Sean Hannity. Therefore, I'm a little biased against this guy, cause SEAN FUCKING HANNITY!

    Just wanted to get that off my chest...

  • Pro Libertate||

    He looks a little like the bad doctor from The Fugitive. Not Harrison Ford or G'kar, the other guy. Who wasn't Tommy Lee Jones.

  • Almanian!||

    Yeah, you're right.


    *punches wall*


    Kind of looks like John Mayer had a baby with George Stephanopoulos.

    But he should be on the outside of the bars looking in at Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Yoo, Biden, Obama, Clinton, and Lederman.

  • General Butt Naked||

    The Fugitive only had two characters, one played by Tommy Lee Jones and one played by Harrison Ford.

    Why are you trying to change history, Winston?

  • Pro Libertate||

    What? Look, that was fucking G'kar, dude. The One-Armed Man. That's like discounting Bruce Fucking Campbell's presence on Burn Notice or Sean Connery's in Highlander.

  • General Butt Naked||

    G'Kar, is that some sort of Star Trek reference?

    And "one-armed man", what the hell is that? Why would they put a on-armed man in a movie, no one wants to see that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    First, Babylon 5

    Second, the One-Armed Man is a classic. Watch the old TV show sometime.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Jaroen Krabbe?

  • AlmightyJB||


  • Hopfiend||

    Truth. Hannity drives me crazy. He is such an anti-intellectual turd.

  • Drake||

    "...Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, convicted of leaking CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name."

    Really? Final answer? I suggest some research Mr. Shackford.

  • John Thacker||

    Convicted of obstructing an investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame's name and of confirming a leak actually made by the uncharged Richard Armitage.

  • Scott S.||

    Clarified! Sorry about that.

  • Drake||

    Nothing to do with obstructing either. Only for "lying" (not having a consistent story) to the feds.

  • John||


    It is pretty sorry that Reason still believes that lie.

  • Scott S.||

    I don't "believe that lie." I just wrote that sentence fairly quickly and without detail.

  • General Butt Naked||

    The lies keep piling up, "Scott".

    ...for a publication called Reason*.

    *it's friday

  • AlmightyJB||

    I was wondering when someone was going to get this drinking party started today.

  • John||

    And it is worth mentioning that the guy who actually did leak the infamous Virginia soccer mom's name was never prosecuted.

  • Marshall Gill||

    It is also worth noting that Mrs Plame was NEVER an "agent", only a bureaucrat who worked with the agency.

  • Drake||

    I always wondered how successful this particular mainstream media / Democratic smear campaign against a Bush guy was.

    Everyone knew Libby had nothing to do with the leak - but the FBI got him on a technicality. The media put very little effort into reporting that is was really Armitage or what Libby was really convicted of.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Don't forget that even if what Libby did wasn't criminal, it was still part of a concerted effort to panic the country into a disastrous and unecessary war. Plame's husband turned out to be completely right in his accusation that the Bush administration was fabricating evidence of a nuclear weapons program.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    There was plenty of detail in the sentence, it was just wrong detail.

    That's OK, you're still my favorite post-2010 Reason writer.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Scott's okay, but if Postrel was still around this sloppy shit wouldn't be happening, and you know that.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Postrel? The Queen Victoria of the Cosmo Empire? Do not be glib.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The state is an infallible god, and its prosecutors just as untainted with mistake. No pardon for you.

    But, didn't the guy break his contract with the CIA.

  • Drake||

    Probably a safe bet he was told the rules several times. The ones about not giving reporters classified information or the names of Operatives probably came up several times.

  • Hopfiend||

    He said "t'aint"

  • AlmightyJB||

    OT: New math. Wonder if the teachers union protects this teachers job. May be the exception to the rule.


  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    A teacher had asked fourth-graders to write homework questions that blended math and social studies, education officials said. The teacher then used the students' questions, including the slave-related ones, as homework for the class.

    One question stated the number of slaves who died while taking over a ship. It asked how many slaves were still alive. The other said a slave was whipped five times a day and asked students to calculate how many times a month he was whipped.

    Shouldn't the students be the ones ordered to sensitivity, since they came up with the questions?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Wow, this guy was stupid.


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