Former CIA agent gets jail term for revealing name of colleague

A former Central Intelligence Agency officer received a two and a half year jail sentence for revealing the name of an undercover colleague to a journalist.

The former officer John Kiriakou claimed that he disclosed the name not knowing the journalist was going to use it and that the disclosure was a mistake. The government prosecutors said in the plea deal for the jail time, Kiriakou admitted he had willfully disclosed the information. (Michael S. Schmidt, The New York Times, January 25, 2013)

Kiriakou had a long and distinguished CIA career and played a key role in capturing and interrogating al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002. His supporters say the prosecution was in retaliation for criticizing the agency’s use of waterboarding. (Josh Gerstein, Politico, January 25, 2013)

One of Kiriakou’s attorneys, Jesselyn Radack claimed that the government arbitrarily enforces secrecy provisions, “US Attorney Neil MacBride’s statement that’Kiriakou betrayed the trust bestowed upon him by the United States and he betrayed his colleagues whose secrecy is their only safety,’ is belied by the facts that 1) the Pentagon IG found that Defense Department undersecretary Mike Vickers disclosed with impunity the identity of a covert U.S. Special Operations Command officer to the makers of Zero Dark Thirty and 2) supposedly-covert Tom Fletcher’s identity has been known for a decade by human rights activists and journalists, and because of this ill-conceived prosecution, is now known by all of America.” (Kaily Kos, January 26, 2013) -db