Unlike Edward Snowden or WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, there was no mass rallying to defend ex-CIA analyst turned whistleblower John Kiriakou. He was the first CIA officer ever imprisoned for leaking classified intel to reporters. On Monday, he was released after almost two years in Loretto Federal Correctional Institution outside Pittsburg.
In a 2007 interview with ABC News, Kiriakou became the first CIA agent to disclose–and denounce--the agency’s use of water boarding.
President Obama has now brought charges on eight current and ex-government employees. Previously, only three cases had been prosecuted in US history. Kiriakou was based in Pakistan when President George W Bush’s “global war on terror” was launched post-9/11. He helped capture Abu Zabaydah, the highest ranking Al Qaeda memeber in government custody.
Kiriakou gave The Times’ Scott Shane, one of the reporters to whom he disclosed classified information, a post-release interview that was so damn inspiring we have to highlight it here:
“Going to prison opened up a whole world I’d never thought of before,” he said, saying that he would like to get involved in prison reform.
“I have maintained from the day of my arrest that my case was never about leaking. My case was about torture. The C.I.A. never forgave me for talking about torture.”
“And I would do it all over again.”
In the long run, he said, he would like to work on issues including civil liberties, changes in the prison system and restrictions on torture.
While imprisoned, Kirakou’s view that water boarding is in fact torture was vindicated by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report. It amazes: America repays the guy who helped to both destroy Al Qaeda and point out illegal government actions with a prison sentence. Shameful. The final fuck you, though, comes from the unrepentant Kiriakou who has no regrets.