Ex-CIA Officer Charged with Leaking Information

Photo credit: MGN

Photo credit: MGN

By Carol Cratty, CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A former CIA officer was indicted Thursday for allegedly disclosing classified information to journalists and lying to a CIA review board about material in a book he wrote.

John Kiriakou, who worked for the CIA from 1990 to 2004, faces a maximum of 45 years in prison if convicted on all charges. The five-count indictment includes three charges under the Espionage Act, alleging Kirakou revealed national defense information to individuals not authorized to receive it –specifically, reporters.

No reporters were identified by name in the indictment.

One count charges that Kiriakou violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act in 2008 by identifying a covert agent called Officer A in the indictment.

Kiriakou also allegedly told reporters the name and contact information of an analyst known as Officer B, who was involved in the 2002 operation to capture alleged al Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah. Zubaydah is one of three detainees the CIA later admitted waterboarding during interrogations. A government report revealed the technique was used on Zubaydah 83 times.

A CIA review board examines all books and other writings by former or current CIA employees to make sure no classified information is revealed.

Kiriakou and a co-author wrote a book called “The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror.” According to the indictment, Kiriakou lied when he submitted a draft of the manuscript to the agency in 2008 and claimed an investigative technique was fabricated.

The document quotes an e-mail Kiriakou sent to his co-author, who was not named in the indictment, which said in part, “I said some things were fictionalized when in fact they weren’t. There’s no way they’re going to go through years of cable traffic to see if it’s fictionalized, so we might get some things through.”

The Justice Department said the charges resulted from an investigation into how pictures of U.S. employees and contractors ended up in the cells of high-value detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. According to the indictment, Kiriakou revealed information to a reporter who passed it on to an investigator for the defense team.

The Justice Department says the defense team then obtained surveillance photos of government employees. The photos were given to detainees to see if they could identify people involved or present at the time of their interrogations.

“There are no allegations of criminal activity by any members of the defense team for the Guantanamo Bay detainees,” according to a Justice Department press release.

Kiriakou, 47, was initially charged in a criminal complaint in January. He remains free on bond and is scheduled to be arraigned on April 13. Neither he nor an attorney would comment when contacted by CNN.

Jesselyn Radack, national security and human rights director for the Government Accountability Project, has been monitoring the progress of the case against Kiriakou. “This is yet another pathetic attempt by the Obama Administration to try prosecuting non-spies under the Espionage Act,” Radack told CNN.

She called the former officer a whistleblower who spoke out against waterboarding and said it was “outrageous” to use the Espionage Act against him.


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