John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent, pled guilty this morning to disclosing information identifying a covert agent. The plea was part of a deal with prosecutors to only go to jail for up to thirty months.
The charge he pled guilty to was under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA). According to Reuters, “court papers” showed that “he revealed the name in an email to a journalist in 2008.”
A post published by Bmaz at Emptywheel noted:
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.
In the case of Kiriakou, as the Government Accountability Project’s (GAP) Jesselyn Radack wrote, “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.”
Firedoglake revealed key information on who “Officer A” was last week. The name of “Officer A” was not published in the post. After the post was published, the individual’s name began to circulate on the internet because it was posted to Cryptocomb.org by a source. (Note: Firedoglake has no way of knowing whether the source that posted to Cryptocomb.org is the same source that came forward to share information on “Officer A.” In fact, it was brought to Firedoglake‘s attention that multiple individuals in human rights organizations were aware of this person’s identity.)
This is who “Covert Officer A” happens to be and who Kiriakou is going to jail for “uncovering”:
. . . 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. . . . Thomas Donahue Fletcher was the chief of the Headquarters Based Rendition Group and was personally responsible for the rendition of Abu Zubaydah (as well as other high-value detainees) to the CIA black site in Thailand and witnessed and played a role in Zubaydah’s torture…
Radack put it succinctly in her most recent post: This is a “tragic bookend to the torture narrative: Kiriakou will be going to jail, while Fletcher happily enjoys retirement in Vienna VA, safe with protection from “the most transparent administration in history.”
It must be made clear Kiriakou went on television while the Bush Administration was still in power. He said on television that the CIA had an official policy of torture. He called waterboarding torture. This put a target on him. He became a person the federal government would be watching closely. They would be searching for some kind of political offense they could charge as a crime.
With this plea, the Obama administration can claim victory in its war on whistleblowers. It can be proud that it made certain this man’s life was destroyed and his family was brought to the point where they were willing to beg for mercy and be done with the government’s prosecution.
If there is anything positive to come out of this, it is that Kiriakou will be out of jail in just over two years. He’ll be able to see his five children grow up. But, while he is in jail, a “retired” agent, who aided in the kidnapping of “terror suspects” for renditions, will be on the outside and free.