Former CIA officer John Kiriakou has been formally indicted for leaking classified information to reporters, in the latest development of the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers.
Kiriakou, who served as an intelligence officer from 1990 until 2004 and was first charged in January and remains free on $250,000 bond, has been indicted on one count of revealing the identity of a covert officer, three counts of leaking classified national security information, and one count of making false statements to a CIA review board when seeking clearance to publish his book.
He was one of the first government officials to publicly acknowledge the use of waterboarding during interrogations. Specifically, he is alleged – and has pledged not guilty – to have revealed information about Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah, who was brutally tortured and infamously waterboarded 83 times.
Kiriakou’s alleged leaks pertain to an illegal program of systematic torture and, in the words of Marcy Wheeler, “lying to the CIA Publication Review Board about the classification of a surveillance technique details of which have been readily available for decades (and which seems to be related to the Secret PATRIOT GPS application targeting American citizens in probable violation of the Fourth Amendment).”
Yet this is the type of truth-telling the Obama administration has cracked down on. “All told,” writes Karen J. Greenberg, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Security at the NYU School of Law, “the administration has gone after six suspected leakers — more than all previous administrations combined — using the draconian Espionage Act.” This, from the administration who pledged unprecedented transparency.
Antiwar.com’s Kelley B. Vlahos interviewed Peter Van Buren, a Foreign Service officer himself in trouble for saying things the government didn’t want him to, who had this to say about the Kiriakou case: “The bureaucracies know this intimidation keeps people in line. Other employees watch and say, not me, not my mortgage, not my family and remain silent.”