DO NOT let this become the headline.
As reported over the weekend, (here and here) Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) whistleblower John Kiriakou is inches from being put in jail for allegedly "outing" a torturer. ("Outing" is in quotes because the allegations are not that Kiriakou told the public the torturer's name, just that Kiriakou allegedly confirmed the name and eventually Guantanamo victims of torture learned the name and defense attorneys put the name in a sealed court filing.)
One of EmptyWheel's two must-read pieces on the Kiriakou case over the weekend:
I flat out guarantee the import of that is the court put the brakes on the entire case as a result of an off the record joint request of the parties to facilitate immediate plea negotiation. As in they are doing it as you read this. . . . What I hear is the current offer is plead to IIPA [Intelligence Identities Protection Act] and two plus years prison. This for a man who has already been broken, and whose family has been crucified (Kiriakou’s wife also worked for the Agency, but has been terminated and had her security clearance revoked). Blood out of turnips is now what the “most transparent administration in history” demands.
EmptyWheel drilled down on what the Kiriakou case is really about – covering up the CIA's torture program:
The CIA panicked because the subjects of CIA torture were learning the identities of their torturers. DOJ did an investigation to see whether any crime had been committed, and determined it hadn’t. CIA then started politicizing that decision, which led to Fitzgerald’s appointment.
Fitzgerald confirmed what DOJ originally determined: the defense attorneys committed no crime by researching who their clients’ torturers were.
But along the way Fitzgerald gave the CIA a head–John Kiriakou’s–based partly on old investigations of him. And, surprise surprise, that head happens to belong to the only CIA officer who publicly broke the omerta about the torture program.
This entire case was an attempt to punish someone to restore the omerta on CIA’s illegal activities.
Do not let Kiriakou take the fall for the entire torture program, a program which Kiriakou refused to participate in and helped expose.
Call Attorney General Holder (202) 514-2001) to express your displeasure at the Justice Department's protecting torturers and awarding investigators who decline to prosecute torturers while prosecuting whistleblowers.
According to press reports, Kiriakou's "to plea or not to plea" decision hinges on the never-litigated Intelligence Identities Protection Act.
To date, there have been no reported cases interpreting the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), but it did result in one conviction in 1985 pursuant to a guilty plea. In that case, Sharon Scranage, a former CIA clerk, pleaded guilty for providing classified information regarding U.S. intelligence operations in Ghana, to a Ghanaian agent, with whom she was romantically involved. She was initially sentenced to five years in prison, but a federal judge subsequently reduced her sentence to two years. That. Is. It.
The IIPA charge is based on Kiriakou's allegedly confirming the name of one "Officer A" and that name eventually ending up in a SEALED Guantanamo defense filing.
Who is this "Officer A" that the CIA and Justice Department are working hand-in-hand to protect? Kevin Gosztola of Firedoglake writes:
The identity of this individual is “not so secret.” In fact, as the former government official informed Firedoglake, at least ten individuals in the human rights community have known of this key CIA official for years.
These individuals in the human rights community have known that the agent allegedly ensured detainees were “properly rendered and tortured,” according to the source, who alleges they have known he took part in “sadistic acts of horrendous conduct against the detainees” and have engaged in what appears to be a “code of silence” protecting the individual while the Justice Department prosecutes Kiriakou.
The name of "Officer A" showed up on Cryptocomb last week:
Source Sends – The CIA officer listed as "Officer A" in the John Kiriakou complaint has been revealed to be Thomas Donahue Fletcher. Born in 1953. Fletcher is currently a resident of Vienna, VA.Further - source states journalists have known identity of this person prior to August 2008, when Kiriakou allegedly confirmed
the identity in an email to Matthew Cole, formerly of ABC News.
As Marcy Wheeler put it:
That’s the background of this plea negotiation. I realize in the normal world of legal representation, pleas look really great.
At this point, however, DOJ has serially served not to achieve justice, but to cover up the CIA’s illegal torture program. John Kiriakou and his lawyers will decide what they will. But that doesn’t make this plea deal a legitimate exercise of justice.
This post originally appeared on Radack's Daily Kos blog.
Jesselyn Radack is National Security & Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.