Editor’s Note (Revised at 1:45 PM PST)- CIA operative John Kiriakou has been on countless TV documentaries about al Qaeda and the tragedy of 9-11 depicting how he and his CIA peers were able to chase down al Qaeda terrorists.
Now, after writing “The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror”, it appears he has exposed a bit too much information, and now the Department of Justice has charged him today “with repeatedly disclosing classified information to journalists, including the name of a covert CIA officer and information revealing the role of another CIA employee in classified activities, Justice Department officials announced.”
John Kiriakou is an intelligence and counter-terrorism consultant for ABC News and a former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, focusing on the Middle East, South Asia, and international terrorism.
Mr. Kiriakou served in the Central Intelligence Agency from 1990 until March 2004, first as an analyst, and later as a counter-terrorism operations officer. As a senior operations officer, Mr. Kiriakou became chief of counterterrorist operations in Pakistan immediately following the September 11 attacks. This tour culminated in the March 2002 capture of Abu Zubaydah, al-Qa’ida’s third-ranking official, in a raid led by Mr. Kiriakou in Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Upon his return from Pakistan, Mr. Kiriakou was named Executive Assistant to the CIA’s Deputy Director for Operations, where he was intimately involved in the planning for the Iraq war, and where he served as principle Iraq briefer for the Director of Central Intelligence.
Mr. Kiriakou gained nationwide attention in December 2007 when he became the first CIA officer to acknowledge the waterboarding of al-Qa’ida prisoners in US custody.
When Kiriakou served as senior investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry (D) MA was the chairman, and he listed the following on his Linked-In account:
Senior Operations Officer, Central Intelligence Agency, Government Agency; International Affairs industry, January 1990 – March 2004 (14 years 3 months)
Second Secretary, Economic Affairs, US Embassy Government Agency; 1-10 employees; International Affairs industry, 1994 – 1996 (2 years)
Senior Staff Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, March 2009 – May 2011 (2 years 3 months)
He also posted many other positions in private firms.
Kiriakou seems to be quite the chatter box, having been the first to admit to water boarding activities by the CIA at Gitmo, to allegedly revealing secrets and identifying operators in these recent accusations, but it also appears he was also an accuser of “Scooter” Libby in the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson affair. It also appears he may have been a CIA dupe, manipulated to release information only now to be charged for what the CIA may have asked him to laud in other areas. One must guess it depends on who is in charge on whether what he is accused of doing was actually okay at one time and now, it is not.
Ironically, Pentagon officials have in fact done much the same with the release of highly classified intelligence relating to Seal Team 6 and their work in killing Osama bin Ladin to Sony Entertainment. Congressman Peter King, NY has asked for a full investigation into this matter, but as yet, none has been opened.
Former CIA officer charged in alleged leaks
By Greg Miller
The Justice Department on Monday charged a former CIA officer with repeatedly leaking classified information, including the identities of agency operatives involved in the capture and interrogation of alleged terrorists.
The case against John Kiriakou, who served as a senior Senate aide after ending his CIA career, extends the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on disclosures of national security secrets to journalists.
Kiriakou, who was among the first to go public with details about the CIA’s use of water-boarding and other harsh interrogation measures, was charged with disclosing classified information to reporters and lying to the agency about the origin of other sensitive material he published in a book.
In its criminal filing, the Justice Department obscured many of the details of Kiriakou’s allegedly illegal disclosures. But the documents suggest that Kiriakou, 47, was a source for stories in 2008 and 2009 about some of the agency’s most sensitive operations after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including the capture of alleged al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah and the interrogation of the self-proclaimed mastermind of the attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
CIA Director David H. Petraeus issued a statement to the agency’s workforce on Monday afternoon saying that he could not comment on the details of the case against Kiriakou but warning that “the illegal passage of secrets is an abuse of trust that may put lives in jeopardy.”
The Justice Department also said that the information Kiriakou supplied to journalists also contributed to a subsequent security breach at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. Kiriakou’s disclosures, according to the Justice Department, enabled defense attorneys to obtain photographs of CIA operatives suspected of being involved in controversial interrogations, pictures that were subsequently discovered in prisoners’ cells.
Kiriakou, who worked for the CIA from 1990 to 2004, was scheduled to appear at 2 p.m. Monday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.
The case is the latest legal move by an administration that has been more aggressive than its predecessors in seeking to stem the flow of government secrets to the press. Other efforts include the pending trial of an Army private accused of sending classified intelligence files to the Web site WikiLeaks, and the prosecution of a former CIA analyst accused of disclosing secrets about agency operations against Iran to a reporter from the New York Times.
A similar case against a former executive at the National Security Agency was seen by critics as evidence of overzealousness by the Obama administration, and ended in a plea agreement.
Kiriakou worked as an investigator on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a year before leaving in 2010. The committee had not been aware of the criminal probe of Kiriakou, according to a former U.S. official familiar with the matter.
Staff writer Julie Tate contributed to this story.