Former CIA officer gets 30 months in prison for leaks to the media

By Daniel S Levine,

Ex-C.I.A. officer John C. Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Friday for leaking the name of a covert agent to the press.

His supporters had argued that he was a whistle-blower, exposing the use of waterboarding by the C.I.A. However, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema didn’t buy the argument and said that she would have even sentenced him to a longer term had there been no plea deal reached, notes The Associated Press.

Kiriakou, who worked for the C.I.A. from 1990 to 2004, gave interviews to the press in 2007. These were among the first to acknowledge and confirm that waterboarding torture was used. He specifically spoke about the interrogations of al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah, whose capture Kiriakou played a key role in. Eventually, Zudaydah revealed that information that helped discover Khalid Sheikh Mohamed as the key planner of the 9/11 attacks. Many questioned if waterboarding helped in getting that information, though.

“This is not a case of a whistle-blower,” Brinkema said, reports The New York Times. She went on to give examples of how the leak hurt the C.I.A.’s reputation. “Perhaps you have already spoken too much.”

Kiriakou pleaded guilty in October for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. That law required an 8-year sentence, but he reached a plea deal that called for a two-and-a-half-year sentence.

“I come out of the court positive, confident and optimistic,” Kiriakou told the press after the sentencing.

In court documents, his defense wrote that he wouldn’t have leaked the information if he knew a journalist would use it. Prosecutors said that they believed he had leaked more information, but they didn’t have all the evidence to support that.



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