As stated in the original article (below), the conviction of former CIA officer John Kiriakou — the first current or former officer from the agency to face prison for a classified leak — was bound to generate controversy.
In “The Only CIA Officer Scheduled to Go to Jail Over Torture Never Tortured Anybody,” Kevin Gosztola at firedoglake.com jumps right into the middle of the controversy and the debate.
He proposes that there is a double standard at play here when “Kiriakou is going to do time in jail, even though no person did time in jail for leaking the name of Valerie Plame, a former CIA agent” and even though Kiriakou publicly denounced torture.
Gosztola is not shy about calling out president Obama:
But President Obama has not been willing to fully investigate and prosecute any former Bush administration officials and his Justice Department has chosen to not prosecute anyone in the CIA, even those involved in the destruction of torture tapes.
Instead of vigorously supporting the rule of law through prosecutions of those involved in rendition and torture, he has displayed a zeal for secrecy and the ability of the Executive Branch to control the flow of information. He has pursued a record number of leaks investigations, more than any other president in the history of the country.
Referring to Kiriakou’s now-ruined life, Gosztola says:
Scooter Libby gets to move forward and continue to enjoy the fact that he is not in jail for his involvement in leaking Valerie Plame’s name because his sentence was commuted by President George W. Bush. Dick Cheney gets to move forward with the publication of a “memoir” about his heart (the organ and not what makes us capable of discerning right from wrong). Those who authorized and engaged in torture get to continue their upward trajectory on whatever career path in government they have chosen and retire handsomely. And, if you’re Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, you can keep promoting your book while ensuring the public ignores how you had a role in the destruction of tapes of torture and harsh interrogations and still support waterboarding detainees—a war crime.
Read more here
In a fascinating, lengthy, six-page New York Times special report, Scott Shane, the journalist who “turned up in Mr.[John C.] Kiriakou’s indictment last year as Journalist B,” expands upon the following Times synopsis:
The first C.I.A. officer to be convicted of disclosing classified information to a reporter in more than six decades is scheduled to be sentenced to 30 months in prison on Jan. 25. John Kiriakou is to be sentenced as part of a plea deal in which he admitted e-mailing the name of a covert officer to a reporter.
His prosecution, as well as five others, has been lauded on Capitol Hill as a long-overdue response to a rash of dangerous disclosures and defended by both President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
Mr. Kiriakou is remorseful, up to a point. “I should never have provided the name,” he said.
Supporters say Mr. Kiriakou neither intended to damage national security nor did so. Some see a dark paradox in the impending imprisonment of Mr. Kiriakou, who in a 2007 appearance on ABC News defended the C.I.A.’s use of desperate measures to get information but also said that he had come to believe that waterboarding was torture and should no longer be used.
The conviction, the background, the intrigue, the extenuating circumstances, the national security — including terrorism, rendition and torture — and freedom of the press aspects, the personal tragedy it involves and certainly the politics of this story promise to create much controversy and evoke many opposing opinions and reactions.
Be ready to follow — and react to — it all, by reading Shane’s superb first-hand report here.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.