Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou on Friday was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for leaking the name of a secret agent implicated in harsh interrogations of Al-Qaeda suspects.Kiriakou, 47, pleaded guilty in October before a federal court as part of a plea bargain to avoid trial, acknowledging he had knowingly disclosed the name of the agent, who was working under cover at the time, to a freelance writer.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Leonie Brinkema said sternly: “30 months is way too light.”
“This is not a case of a whistleblower. It is about a person who betrayed a very solid trust,” Brinkema said.
Had the sentence not been recommended by the prosecution, the judge said she would have given Kiriakou a heavier sentence. The 30-month prison term is to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Kiriakou worked for the CIA from 1990 to 2004, and made headlines in a 2007 ABC television interview in which he confirmed for the first time that Abu Zubaydah, a top Al-Qaeda detainee, had been subjected to waterboarding.
The interrogation technique, a form of simulated drowning, has been widely denounced as torture.
Kiriakou’s lawyer Robert Trout said his client was concerned about the interrogation practice and had no intention to cause harm to the United States or any person.
“He gave names with that expectation that they be contacted and may choose to speak about it. Naively, he didn’t appreciate that he could lose control of it,” he said.
“This morning I was sentenced to 30 months of prison for a crime to which I had pleaded guilty,” Kiriakou told reporters on leaving the court. “I want to say that I come out of court positive, confident,and optimistic.”
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