President Obama has opposed waterboarding as torture since the 2008 campaign. The question should be asked, why is he sending the whistleblower who helped end that practice to prison?
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who helped expose the Bush administration's torture program, recently plead guilty to sharing the name of a colleague to journalists to use as a source. He is expected to receive a sentence of 30 months in prison.1
It's a cruel irony that the first agent connected to the CIA torture program to go to prison is the whistleblower who spoke out against the heinous practices of our government. From Bradley Manning to Aaron Swartz to John Kiriakou, the government's pattern of overzealously prosecuting activists and whistleblowers has ruined too many lives already. If President Obama wants to show he opposes torture and supports government transparency he should pardon Kiriakou immediately.
Kiriakou is the sixth person to be indicted under the Espionage Act by the Obama administration & the eighth over all.3 It's time the president end this war on whistleblowers. He can start by pardoning John Kiriakou.
Kiriakou served his country in the CIA for over 15 years, risking his life as an undercover agent chasing Al-Qaeda overseas. He definitely does not deserve this treatment. Kiriakou says he engaged in rendition that resulted in the torture of detainees. He did not personally carry out torture. His leak was not even made public and presented no harm the country.
Compare this to the reckless and very public outing of Valerie Plame. This case resulted in four felony convictions for Scooter Libby, but not a single day in jail. It is unconscionable that Libby could avoid punishment, while Kiriakou must face years in prison for exposing the illegal and inhumane actions of the government. The very actions that the Obama administration claims to oppose.
President Obama should not punish, but pardon John Kiriakou for his exceptional patriotism in speaking out against torture.
Thank you for standing up for transparency and fighting to protect whistleblowers.
1. Pardon John Kiriakou, CIA Whistleblower Convicted of Classified Leak, Kevin Gosztola, The Dissenter, 1/15/2013.
2. The Only CIA Officer Scheduled to Go to Jail Over Torture Never Tortured Anybody, Kevin Gosztola, The Dissenter, 1/6/2013.
3. Obama’s War on Whistleblowing: Ex-CIA Agent Indicted Under Espionage Act, Kevin Gosztola, The Dissenter, 4/6/2012.