Islamabad: Former CIA chief of counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for leaking the identity of an agent while he argues he is actually being prosecuted for coming clean over torture practices in the CIA and “going against the grain.”, reports Dispatch News Desk.
John Kiriakou had a place in world headlines when he captured Al-Qaeda’s third in command Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002. Kiriakou later spoke out about the torture practices used on the Al-Qaeda insurgent in an attempt to extract information.
He was charged on January 23 for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and repeatedly disclosing classified information to journalists.
The charges in question related to an email sent by Kiriakou in August 2008, revealing the name of a covert CIA officer involved in waterboarding to a freelance journalist.
Kiriakou claimed that the email is merely a pretext and the real reason for his sentence is an interview he gave ABC News in 2007, blowing the whistle on torture practices conducted by the CIA that he regards as “wrong and ineffective.”
“I’m headed to prison while the torturers and the lawyers who papered over it and the people who conceived it and the man who destroyed the proof of it, the tapes, will never face justice. And that’s the saddest part of the story,” Kiriakou said.
Prosecutors alleged that Kiriakou’s claims of being a whistleblowing anti-hero are unjustified and accuse him of embarking on a publicity stunt.
Jesselyn Radack, one of Kiriakou’s lawyers claimed that though initially her client also viewed torture in the CIA as“something the US needed to do,” he later changed his mind. As he became more vocal on the issue, publishing a book in 2010 on his experiences called “The Reluctant Spy,” he irritated the CIA, which then launched the “vindictive prosecution” against Kiriakou.