January 23rd, 2012
12:45 PM ET

Former CIA officer accused of leaking classified info

By CNN's Pam Benson

Government prosecutors charged a former CIA officer Monday with disclosing classified information to journalists, including the names of CIA officers involved in top secret activities.

John Kiriakou, a CIA intelligence officer from 1990 to 2004, illegally divulged the name of a CIA covert officer and the role of another agency officer involved in a classified operation, the Justice Department said. He is also accused of lying to the CIA board responsible for reviewing the book he was writing to make sure no classified material was being divulged.   (A copy of the complaint is here).

The investigation of Kiriakou was triggered when defense attorneys for a high-value terrorism detainee held on the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, filed a document with the military commission in January 2009 that contained classified information about CIA officers. This secret information had never been disclosed by the government to the defense team.

The CIA reviewed the defense materials and filed a crime report with the Justice Department that initiated an investigation led by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Then, according to the government, in the spring of 2009, photographs of certain CIA personnel and other federal employees or contractors were found in the cell of a high-value detainee at Guantanamo Bay.

According to the complaint affidavit filed in the case, Kiriakou exchanged e-mails with a reporter, referred to in Department of Justice documents as journalist A, in the summer of 2008 in which he disclosed the name of a covert officer when asked. The journalist gave the covert officer's name to an investigator working for the defense team on the Guantanamo detainee's case.

Although the name of the covert officer was included in the defense filing, the investigator did not take his photograph because he understood he was a covert officer, the Justice Department said.

The affidavit states Kiriakou also disclosed or confirmed to three journalists another CIA officer who was involved in a classified operation.

The affidavit identifies the officer as an analyst with the CIA's Counterterrorism Center who worked with Kiriakou on the operation to capture and interrogate suspected terrorist Abu Zubayda. Zubayda was allegedly al Qaeda's top military strategist until his capture in 2002 and was one of the high-value detainees who was subjected to the controversial waterboarding technique by CIA interrogators.

Although the analyst involved in the Zubayda operation was not a covert officer, his participation in the operation was classified. Kiriakou's e-mail revealed he had disclosed the name of this individual, including his contact information, to the journalists, according to the affidavit.

One of those reporters, referred to in Justice Department documents as Journalist B, wrote an article published in the New York Times in June 2008 in which the analyst's name and his role in the Zubayda operation were revealed.

According to the affidavit, Kiriakou also e-mailed the first journalist about the analyst.

It was the first journalist who provided the analyst's name and phone number to the defense investigator, enabling the investigator to accurately identify the officer and photograph him. Those photographs were found in the prisoner's cell at Guantanamo Bay.

The defense attorneys used the photograph of the CIA officer as well as pictures of other government employees and individuals in a photo line-up of sorts, to see if their client recognized any of the people as those who had interrogated them.

Kiriakou wrote a book published in 2009 titled, "The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror." While writing the book in 2007, he discussed with his co-author a technique known as the magic box, which he said was used during the Zubayda operation. The magic box was described in the June 2008 New York Times article as "an electronic scanner that could track any switched-on mobile phone and give its approximate location."

According to the affidavit, Kiriakou told the CIA's Publication and Review Board that the technique was actually fictional and could be included in his book.

The affidavit includes an excerpt from an e-mail Kiriakou wrote to his co-author about the review board. "I laid it on thick. And 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."

CNN interviewed Kiriakou about his book in March 2010.

In a written statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said, "Safeguarding classified information, including the identities of CIA officers involved in sensitive operations, is critical to keeping our intelligence officers safe and protecting our national security."

CIA Director David Petraeus sent a message to employees on Monday reminding them of their duty to protect secrets. "Given the sensitive nature of many of our agency's operations and the risks we ask our employees to take, the illegal passage of secrets is an abuse of trust that may put lives in jeopardy," Petraeus said.

Kiriakou made an initial appearance in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, Monday afternoon. He was released into the custody of his wife and must obtain a $250,000 bond. His travel is restricted to the Washington metropolitan area.

After the court session, Kiriakou's attorney, Plato Cacheris, told reporters his client was informed of the charges only last week and attorneys are still studying them. He expects Kiriakou to plead not guilty to all charges.

Kiriakou is charged with one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act "for allegedly illegally disclosing the identity of a covert officer," the Justice Department said in a news release. If convicted on that charge, he could be sentenced to up to five years in prison, it said.

He also faces two counts of violating the Espionage Act for "allegedly illegally disclosing national defense information," with each count carrying a maximum 10 years in prison, and one count of making false statements to a CIA board, which carries a sentence of up to five years.

Each count also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

CNN's Jamie Crawford contributed to this report

Post by:
Filed under: Central Intelligence Agency • CIA • Intelligence
soundoff (407 Responses)
  1. Sprinter Van Ecm Repair

    After looking over a handful of the blog articles on your site, I really like your technique of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my website as well and tell me how you feel.


    May 17, 2021 at 5:01 am | Reply
  2. 2015 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will revisit yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    May 17, 2021 at 3:49 am | Reply
  3. Mecedes Sprinter Repair

    bookmarked!!, I love your blog!


    May 17, 2021 at 2:49 am | Reply
  4. Van Repair


    May 16, 2021 at 10:24 pm | Reply
  5. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Turbo Actuator Repair


    May 16, 2021 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  6. Maserati Ghibli Sq4 For Sale

    Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this informative article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!


    May 16, 2021 at 7:26 pm | Reply
  7. Talitha Greenlief

    I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/06/fun-with-photos-see-an-airbus-a380-from-space/


    May 16, 2021 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  8. 2016 Sprinter Mirror Repair


    May 16, 2021 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  9. Maserati Song Rap


    May 16, 2021 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  10. Sprinter Van Service

    Very good article! We will be linking to this particularly great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 16, 2021 at 11:09 am | Reply
  11. 2006 Sprinter Climate Control Repair


    May 16, 2021 at 11:05 am | Reply
  12. Aika Online Private Server


    May 16, 2021 at 10:29 am | Reply
  13. aitan arena aika private server

    I like it when folks come together and share ideas. Great website, stick with it!


    May 16, 2021 at 3:10 am | Reply
  14. Digital Marketing Company


    May 16, 2021 at 3:07 am | Reply
  15. Internet Marketing Reviews

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me dinner simply because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this topic here on your internet site.


    May 16, 2021 at 12:52 am | Reply
  16. Google Marketing Company


    May 15, 2021 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  17. Internet Marketing Service


    May 15, 2021 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  18. 2007 Maserati Quattroporte


    May 15, 2021 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  19. Maserati Bikini

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.


    May 15, 2021 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  20. custom shops near me

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus the rest of the website is also really good.


    May 15, 2021 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  21. Eye Near Me

    This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Thanks!


    May 15, 2021 at 11:06 am | Reply
  22. houses for sale near my house


    May 15, 2021 at 8:26 am | Reply
  23. Optometrist Phoenix


    May 15, 2021 at 5:25 am | Reply
  24. Maserati Grand Turismo Review

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog before but after browsing through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly delighted I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!


    May 15, 2021 at 1:18 am | Reply
  25. Vision


    May 15, 2021 at 1:04 am | Reply
  26. homes for sale rathdrum idaho

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Appreciate it!


    May 14, 2021 at 11:46 pm | Reply
  27. rv for sale orange county

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be helpful to read content from other authors and use something from their sites.


    May 14, 2021 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  28. paint shops near me


    May 14, 2021 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  29. horse trailer paint colors


    May 14, 2021 at 5:28 pm | Reply
  30. Contact Lens Exam Near Me


    May 14, 2021 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  31. camper service near me

    Your style is very unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this web site.


    May 14, 2021 at 11:05 am | Reply
  32. drone repair orange county

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something relating to this.


    May 14, 2021 at 9:29 am | Reply
  33. RV Washing Orange County


    May 14, 2021 at 9:22 am | Reply
  34. RV Furniture Near Me

    I quite like reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!


    May 14, 2021 at 9:22 am | Reply
  35. RV Wraps Orange County

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you so much, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I can't join it. Is there anyone else having identical RSS issues? Anybody who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 14, 2021 at 9:03 am | Reply
  36. Sprinter Van Side Repair

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I've read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this site.


    May 14, 2021 at 6:54 am | Reply
  37. bucket truck services


    May 14, 2021 at 3:48 am | Reply
  38. custom shops near me


    May 14, 2021 at 12:16 am | Reply
  39. esurance rv insurance


    May 13, 2021 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  40. trailer services near me

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this information.


    May 13, 2021 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  41. accident repair shop near me


    May 13, 2021 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  42. rv mattresses near me


    May 13, 2021 at 11:26 am | Reply
  43. repair near me

    Hello! I just would like to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you have got right here on this post. I'll be returning to your blog for more soon.


    May 13, 2021 at 7:58 am | Reply
  44. furniture repair orange county

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always useful to read through content from other authors and practice something from other sites.


    May 13, 2021 at 7:34 am | Reply
  45. solar orange county

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this matter here on your blog.


    May 13, 2021 at 12:10 am | Reply
  46. collision experts fargo


    May 12, 2021 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  47. rv slide out leak repair


    May 12, 2021 at 7:18 pm | Reply
  48. chatsworth collision center


    May 12, 2021 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  49. car wraps orange county


    May 12, 2021 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  50. Sprinter Van Repair In Huntington Beach


    May 12, 2021 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  51. sound system repair near me

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you so much, However I am having problems with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody having identical RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 12, 2021 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  52. RV Interior Remodeling Riverside

    Wonderful post! We are linking to this great article on our website. Keep up the good writing.


    May 12, 2021 at 11:31 am | Reply
  53. RV Shades Near Me

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the most useful sites on the internet. I am going to recommend this site!


    May 12, 2021 at 11:27 am | Reply
  54. Dodge Sprinter 3500 2006 Window Repair


    May 12, 2021 at 11:17 am | Reply
  55. Mb Sprinter Blind Spot Detection Repair


    May 12, 2021 at 7:17 am | Reply
  56. rv body repair parts


    May 12, 2021 at 7:11 am | Reply
  57. rv parts and repair near me

    I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I will book mark your site and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.


    May 12, 2021 at 5:55 am | Reply
  58. rv supplies los angeles


    May 12, 2021 at 5:05 am | Reply
  59. Rema Schnabel

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    May 12, 2021 at 4:12 am | Reply
  60. RV Shower Near Me


    May 12, 2021 at 3:15 am | Reply
  61. RV Wraps Riverside


    May 12, 2021 at 3:15 am | Reply
  62. RV Refrigerator Orange County

    I truly love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you make this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my own personal blog and would love to learn where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Many thanks!


    May 12, 2021 at 2:56 am | Reply
  63. Digital Marketing Management


    May 11, 2021 at 6:12 pm | Reply
1 2 3

Leave a Reply to Dick Cheney


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.