Former CIA officer charged with revealing information to journalists
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou
April 5th, 2012
08:27 PM ET

Former CIA officer charged with revealing information to journalists

By Carol Cratty

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.

soundoff (66 Responses)
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  9. Jack

    Quick, someone compile all his appearances and figure out what he revealed.
    Also need to get a hold of his book before it gets redacted.

    April 24, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
  10. Alex Povolotski

    Question - can CIA or any other agency stop the publication of the revealed material already in the journalists' hands? Would it breach the freedom of speech practice? Are the orders to suppress any publications legal at all?

    April 11, 2012 at 9:53 am | Reply
    • Jonathan Pollard zionist Spy and American Traitor

      Stupid John Kiriakou! Let me tell you . . .spying pays only if you are a zionist spy, like me.

      So what if the stupid u.s. government sentenced me to life in prison. Heck, I'm getting out next year because my master Big bibi has demanded my release and our boy, Obama is set to pardon me. I can't wait! I'll be getting lots of zionist pp and tit-tee since I like em both and in both ends. Yup, my prison love is going to miss me on my knees, but what the heck, when I get to israel when next year, I'll be rich . . . money bibi promised me when he visited me – he told me this . . . "don't worry Jon . . .our AIPAC spies will make sure our stupid American taxpayers will keep sending money to us and Obama promised us American money FOREVER, and I promise you'll get your cut."

      Yipppeeeeee! Spying does pay . . . but only if you are a zionist spy. Stupid John Kiriakou . . .you should convert and must maybe . . . and I mean, maybe you can be a zionist, too!

      ha-ha ha-ha . . . .soon I will be free getting pumped and pumping boys and girls . . . I mean zionist boys and girls.


      April 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  11. John

    When you are trained in Interrogation you realize it is a useful tool when dealing with a weak person. Example; I think you belong to a candy corn organization. To which one do you directly belong...... after asking 100 times and you have video of the guy purchasing candy corn and killing soldiers with it you ask again. This time with a blind fold, a face covered in burlap and a bucket of water and honey, or kitchen grease or motor oil or urine or feces or soured hot dogs. Once dumped onto his face and he cant breath like a free man, most puke and choke on that too. Then decide they have felt more pain not anwering stupid Government questions they dont understand have legal remifications and they spill the beans. Why not? Your fighting for someone who doesn't have the guts to break you out of prison, or free you from interrogations or at least kill you. Your own side is weak and or doesn't care about you at all. You know, whats great about Anonymous. They can at least admit when they are being beat at their own game and they are smart enough to stop and pass the torch to someone else, as part of a plan. Detainee's, they are stupid. They harbor everything they learned fighting. They hold onto it like a badge of honor. Like killing a few men that were delivering food to a school was a great honor. Like killing someone working for peace was truly going to get the Pakistani Government on your side, (Benasire Bhuto). There is no business like show business as John Lennon says in "Free As a Bird", and the idea of torture is a great 10 minute notation on any reporters resume that is worth a shit. I'd say, the only reporter worth a damn is Jake Tapper.

    April 11, 2012 at 5:02 am | Reply
  12. reality hater

    he is the solution : Have a clause in the paperwork you sign when hired stating : no spooks can wright books about their government jobs , especially ones working on highly sensitive projects – this would help on two fronts No national secrets in print and no review board to win

    April 10, 2012 at 7:35 am | Reply
    • reality hater

      I must be sleeping.....I mean here is the solution : and write books – no edit button nice blog....

      April 10, 2012 at 7:37 am | Reply
  13. Doug

    "The Reluctant Spy"???? You joined the CIA and you didn't know you would be asked to gather intelligence?

    April 10, 2012 at 6:17 am | Reply
  14. Cody

    I don't really think whistle blowing is a defense... or else can I just say where someone in Witness Protection is to "blow the whistle" on their poor living conditions? Who gets to decide when it's whistle blowing and just plain treason.

    April 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Michael J Newport

      The federal government is deciding whether this man is a whistle blower or a traitor, and the government has no incentive to classify him as a whistle blower. If the feds try to submit secret evidence, or hold the trial in secret, you can be sure this man will cease being a citizen with constitutional rights. He will be a victim.

      Maybe he is a traitor. If he is, the government needs to prove it in an open trial, where the facts are made available to the public.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:26 am | Reply
    • swiyper

      Pointless perspective ...... know what treason really means? Figure it out why there is a government.. Human law?? We need an Order civilized society... figure it out again dumb ass

      April 10, 2012 at 5:43 am | Reply
  15. Jannani

    This is just like movie.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Reply
    • Bob

      They will charge this guy, what about the guys that disclosed Valery Plame status, Chennie, Scooter Lybie, Armitage and all the others.. if it is illegal to do so, then Charge the others as well..

      April 9, 2012 at 10:08 am | Reply
  16. KeninTexas

    "Kiriakou revealed information to a reporter who passed it on to an investigator for the defense team." I would hope that they will prosecute these guys as well. After all, they passed along classified material to the enemy too.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  17. KeninTexas

    "Kiriakou revealed information to a reporter who passed it on to an investigator for the defense team." ,,,, I would hope that the government is also looking at prosecuting these guys too. After all, they also passed along classified information to the enemy.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • dt

      Wouldn't a valid question be – Who is the enemy?

      April 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  18. onestarman

    Dick Cheney ordered Libby and Karl Rove to reveal Valerie Plame working as a COVERT CIA Operative – endangering her Contacts and other Agents with whom she worked Besides ending HER Career. The Federal Courts said it was OKey-Dokey for Cheney and Rove to do so ONLY Libby took the Fall.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Reply
    • Demonhunter

      You are a buffoon. Libby was not even charged with revealing Plame's identity. In fact, no one was charged with that because Plame was not covert, she drove to work in Langley every day. Thus it was not a crime. In addition to that, the person who revealed the connection of Plame and Wilson was Richard Armitage who was not charged with any crime.

      Typical liberal, not a fact to your name.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:23 am | Reply
      • Spelunker4Plato

        Way to go, D-hunter. I was interested in what you had to say until you made your argument partisan.

        April 9, 2012 at 3:21 am |
      • ZolaB

        Just because someone drives to Langley each day does NOT mean they are not undercover or covert. This is a fact you need to realize.

        April 9, 2012 at 5:56 am |
      • Bob

        The Buffon calling other names..

        What Chennie Armitage and Libby did was treason... Valery was a cover agent at one point and her contacts to this day are in danger!!!

        April 9, 2012 at 10:16 am |
      • Aryn

        Actually she was covert and many of her work is still classified. You can easily look her up on Wikipedia and probably several other sources and find hat out

        April 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  19. wb

    quit protecting these liberal losers. they are traitors to this greta nation and they are the rot that works within this country to cause its destruction. time to round them up and do away with them. from the negroes to the muslims to the left wing professors, students, anyone who does not support this great nation. better yet, force them all into a uniform and let them take the risks that are young people already do. let's see if they don't believe in God when bullets fly around their heads and morter rounds drop close enough to give them concussions. kill of welfare. man the borders. kill all drug dealers when caught in the act. send the illegals home only after we use them on public works projects for a couple of years. even better, let's go after the left wing media. let's make june the kick a reporter's ass month. we could have a bounty on their asses. blacken their eye win 50 bucks. knock out his teeth get a new car. put him in the ground a lifetime supply of ammunition. round em up then f**k em up. let God sort them out.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
    • ker

      i could suggest a few good shrinks, maybe some anger management programs, for you, get your blood pressure screened – you are a little too worked-up about things that are only going on in your head. too bad that i can't loan you some common sense and perspective, you really need it.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Reply
      • Kris

        Wow, couldn't have said it better. 🙂

        April 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Ned

      and you use the word God, your a hypocrite, and an idiot your rants clearly prove your off or in need of medication

      April 8, 2012 at 4:07 am | Reply
    • Wes Scott

      Were you wearing your NAZI SS uniform or your KKK sheet when you wrote that dribble? It is people like you who are the worst of what America is about. On top of that, your writing proves you failed third grade English.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Reply
    • dt

      Perhaps, instead of watching Borne movies and pretending to be important and relevant, you could seek professional help and find out just how insignificant you are.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Reply
    • Bob

      I guess prozac doesn't work..!!

      April 9, 2012 at 10:21 am | Reply
  20. bushcheney

    Nice Attempt to squash free speech. Hey Bush Cheney administration did the same but they are still walking free. its only a crime when political not acceptable

    April 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Reply
    • Ned

      I agree with free speech, I think Cheney should have faced the same punishment for outing Valerie Plune, but this guy deserves to go to jail,you can't out CIA operatives without putting many lives at risk

      April 8, 2012 at 4:10 am | Reply
      • dt

        Let the act play out. If you believe that the obvious really is, then the professionals have done their jobs.

        April 8, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Demonhunter

      More morons who don't have a clue to the facts.

      Libby was not even charged with revealing Plame's identity. In fact, no one was charged with that because Plame was not covert, she drove to work in Langley every day. Thus it was not a crime. In addition to that, the person who revealed the connection of Plame and Wilson was Richard Armitage who was not charged with any crime.

      Where do you liberals get your facts? Oh wait, you don't have any.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:26 am | Reply
  21. the big ragu

    Kiriakou should leave the USA and apply for political asylum in ... Russia, maybe ? The International Laws which prohibit War Crimes, and Torture, supersede any law of the USA ... not just morally, but literally as well. The USA is a signature to these treaties, and the Constitution states that treaties are the supreme law of the land.

    April 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  22. yeah yeah

    Kiriakou si a TRUE Patriot......if that word has any real meaning during these times.

    April 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  23. BlueAlliance

    CNN it never ceases to amaze me the kind of posts your moderators allow. Anything pro Obama usually doesn't make it = where is the fairness in that? You are no better than Fox, I'm changing to MSNBC for some common sense.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Reply
    • NewsFlashBlue

      Blue, don't do it! Haven't you heard that MSNBC is not a credible news source? Media Matters recommends talking points to the White House (Yes! The White House!) who in turn tasks MSNBC with dissemination with the intent to influence a target audience. MSNBC isn't journalism, it's brazen propaganda! They're the tool of Media Matters!

      I didn't think you wanted to be a sucker gobbling down crap some ideologue concocted. A guy like you probably wants facts.

      Good luck, man. Just trying to help.

      April 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Reply
      • Joe

        All news outlets are propaganda. We never truly know the truth of what is being told unless we were there. Even the local media is the same. They need to "create" stories or at least sensationalize them to a point of generating interest and reaction. I don't believe a word of what I read on any of these sites. It's more like entertainment.

        April 9, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  24. Michael

    When will people wake up to a realizationthat there is no morality in being born. No way to guarantee that a human off spring will not turn, much like a beloved well trained pet and bite the hand that pets and fed it. The truth is though, mans mind rationalizes, but that ability is only in addition to their animal beginings. Human sensuality is the primary charactaristic that seperates man from other animals.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  25. michaelfury

    "In his book “The One Percent Doctrine,” author Ron Suskind said Zubaydah was not the “high value detainee” the CIA had claimed. Rather, Zubaydah was a minor player in the al-Qaeda organization, handling travel for associates and their families, Suskind says.

    Abu Zubaydah’s captors soon discovered that their prisoner was mentally ill and knew nothing about terrorist operations or impending plots. That realization was “echoed at the top of CIA and was, of course, briefed to the President and Vice President,” Suskind writes.

    But Bush portrayed Zubaydah as “one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States.

    “And, so, the CIA used an alternative set of procedures” to get Zubaydah to talk, Bush said in the spring of 2002, after Zubaydah was captured.

    Suskind writes that Zubaydah became one of the first prisoners in the wake of 9/11 to undergo some of the harshest interrogation methods at the hands of American intelligence officials.

    Suskind says that, despite the fact that Bush was briefed by the CIA about Zubaydah’s low-level al-Qaeda status, the president did not want to “lose face” because he had stated his importance publicly.

    “Bush was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth,” Suskind writes. Bush questioned one CIA briefer, “Do some of these harsh methods really work?”

    Zubaydah was strapped to a waterboard and, fearing imminent death, he spoke about a wide range of plots against a number of US targets, such as shopping malls, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. Yet, Suskind writes, the information Zubaydah had provided under duress was not credible.

    Still, that did not stop “thousands of uniformed men and women [who] raced in a panic to each … target.” And so, Suskind writes, “the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered.”

    April 6, 2012 at 7:51 am | Reply
    • Yakobi

      I can make up equally fictionalized tripe, put it in a book and sell it as fact. That doesn't make it true, though.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Reply
      • avrwebguy

        Which part? The part where our CIA decided that national security warranted the use of inhuman acts of torture? Or the part where our president and his administration were fully aware of the CIA's actions, not to mention the indoctrination of our military at detention facilities overseas to use these and other inhuman forms of torture?

        April 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  26. ms1234

    Sigh. While the whistleblower defense has merit, strong merit, still and all, you just dont reveal undercover operatives/officers to anyone. He could have blown the whistle without revealing identities/sensitive info. Ok, so he deserves punishment for that, but I have no qualms with using his story to highlight the problems with physical torture at Guantanamo. 83 waterboard tortures? Seriously? I only conclude after this all comes out over the years, that these big men in charge at CIA and Guantanamo simply LIKE to physically hurt others. It clearly does not work. Besides which, its ILLEGAL. Wow. Do they really think they get good info? Do our cops use this on suspects downtown at the county jail if its such an "ok" technique. The CIA and Guantanamo rulers are just using it as an excuse to take out their own frustration/anger. The lack of self-control is pathetic. The REALLY good officer gets his info and the suspect doesnt even know they revealed it. Its a courtship not a beatdown. Unless you just hate that mideastern dude and want to hurt him anyway. That is truly how it comes across to the public, and we do not respect the bigwigs for it. We're just too busy trying to pay for gasoline because Shell and BPO shareholders want a new yacht.

    April 6, 2012 at 7:42 am | Reply
  27. Thomas

    if he violated his NDAs, he must pay the penalty. no one forced him to sign the NDAs.

    April 6, 2012 at 6:47 am | Reply
    • avrwebguy

      Thomas: You do realize that part of the oath he took includes the phrase " uphold and defend the constitution..."?

      April 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Reply

    too bad for such information is nt to be release to the press

    April 6, 2012 at 2:58 am | Reply
    • Stuart lets idiots post malware hosting links as their author names, so that site visitors can get infected after clicking the links from CNN's site? Wow.

      Be smart people. Don't click on such links.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  29. Catdog

    So what? The vice president outed a covert CIA agent and the DOJ just laughed it off. I assume the law is a selective one.

    April 5, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Reply
    • michaelfury

      April 6, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply
  30. Michael

    So what? An example must be made every now and then so hang him and be done with it. He played the games to make money and tried to make more after he got out and he lost! Somebody took his place, same games new faces, and the end game is to keep the game going.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Reply
  31. fio deus

    Israel is a proven terrorist state, that has carried out aggressive actions against their own allies, not to mention innocent civillians.

    White phosphorous... Bomblets in lebannon..

    And AIPACS enormous influence in American politics.

    That is the face of true terrorism.


    April 5, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • Noel

      Give the anti Israel crap a rest, moron.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Reply
      • fio deus

        Na, fukk off if the truth hurts.

        April 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • concrete plunder

      guy you have many post names and we have all seen your daily post against israel and jews , SO YOU SHOULD TAKE THE ADVICE OF NOEL WHO ALSO IS TELLING YOU TO GIVE IT A REST .

      your a twisted kid who needs a girl friend , or a job cutting grass with an electric mower , perhaps we will be lucky and you will get a charge out of it , HINT the grass cuts best when it is not dry.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
      • fio deus

        Illiciting a response is a propaganda victory.

        I win.

        Suck these nuts, and prove anything I said wrong.

        I'm thankful that I have a grass cutting expert on hand..looser

        April 6, 2012 at 3:22 am |

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