KEVIN GOSZTOLA, [email], @kgosztola
Gosztola just wrote the piece “CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou, Sentenced to 30 Months in Jail, Wears Conviction as ‘Badge of Honor’,” which states: “A former CIA officer, who was the first member of the agency to publicly acknowledge that torture was official U.S. policy under the administration of President George W. Bush, has been sentenced to 30 months in jail. He was convicted in October of last year of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act when he provided the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program to a reporter.
“Kiriakou granted Firedoglake an interview the day before his sentencing.
“He was initially indicted for allegedly releasing classified information to journalists that included the identities of a ‘covert CIA officer’ and details on the role of ‘another CIA employee in classified activities.’ The Justice Department also charged him with three counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count for ‘allegedly lying to the Publications Review Board of the CIA’ so he could include classified information in his book in addition to the charge of violating the IIPA.
“The Justice Department under President Barack Obama wanted to convict him under the Espionage Act, as they have tried but thus far failed to do in the prosecution of a record number of alleged leakers or whistleblowers. In fact, Kiriakou described how the FBI tried to set him up in 2010:
“‘In the summer of 2010, a foreign intelligence officer offered me cash in exchange for classified information. I turned down the pitch and I immediately reported it to the FBI. So, the FBI asked me to take the guy out to lunch and to ask him what information he wanted and how much information he was willing to give me for it. They were going to put two agents at a nearby table. They ended up canceling the two agents but they asked me to go ahead with the lunch so I did. After the lunch, I wrote a long memo to the FBI — and I did this four or five times.
“‘It turns out — and we only learned this three or four weeks ago — there never was a foreign intelligence officer. It was an FBI agent pretending to be an intelligence officer and they were trying to set me up on an Espionage Act charge but I repeatedly reported the contact so I foiled them in their effort to set me up.’
“He addressed the fact that government prosecutors in their sentencing filing showed they were upset that he had supporters and media calling him a ‘whistleblower.’
“‘There is a legal definition of whistleblower and I meet that legal definition,’ Kiriakou declared. ‘I was the first person to acknowledge that the CIA was using waterboarding against al Qaeda prisoners. I said in 2007 that I regarded waterboarding as torture and I also said that it was not the result of rogue CIA officers but that it was official U.S. government policy. So, that’s whistleblowing. That’s the definition of whistleblowing.’
“The Justice Department fervently disagrees. …”
Gosztola tweeted today: “John Kiriakou’s wife was harassed by CIA when he published op-eds. IRS audited him every year since ’07. Today, DoJ put him in prison.” Gosztola is co-author of Truth & Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning. His recent pieces include “‘Rise of the Drones’ Is Mostly a PBS Infomercial for the Military Defense Industry.“