The former CIA analyst who went public with the US government’s torturing of suspected terrorists has suffered a major setback this week in his attempt to avoid imprisonment amid a federal witch-hunt targeting whistleblowers.
John Kiriakou, the 48-year-old counter-terrorism expert once touted by the State Department for his role in capturing dozens of key al-Qaeda operatives, will now have to prove to prosecutors that he thought his admissions of the government’s top-secret water-boarding of prisoners posed no threat to national security. Kiriakou’s federal opponents believe the whistleblower exposed to journalists the identity of two other CIA agents, one of who led the controversial torture program that aimed to bring the accused as close to death as possible to coax confessions.
Kiriakou has been the subject of an intense federal investigation following a 2007 televised interview with ABC News where he confirmed that the US government’s interrogation of alleged war criminals involved water-boarding, a drowning-simulation technique that was banned under President Barack Obama two years later.
After he went public, Kiriakou was charged in January 2012 under the Espionage Act of 1917, among other crimes, for blowing the whistle on state secrets. Now amid pre-trial hearings being held outside of Washington, DC, US District Judge Leonie Brinkema has ordered that prosecutors will only have to prove that Kiriakou had “reason to believe” leaking the truth behind the torture method could have caused harm.
Source and full story: Russia Today, 19 Oct 2012