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article imageOp-Ed: Only person to be jailed for CIA torture is the whistleblower

By Ken Hanly     Jan 25, 2013 in Politics
Alexandria - John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer who blew the whistle on CIA torture practices, was sentenced to more than two years in prison for leaking the name of a covert officer to a reporter.
US district judge of the court in Alexandria Virginia, Leonie Brinkema, said she would have given Kiraikou a much longer sentence if she could. A plea deal in which Kiriakou pleaded guilty last year required the judge to sentence him to 2 and a half years. The judge rejected arguments that he was acting as a whistleblower when he leaked the officer's name.
In the plea bargain, Kiriakou pleaded guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. He is the first person convicted under the law in 27 years.
While supporters of Kiriakou say he was a whistleblower who exposed the CIA's torture of detained terrorists, prosecutors claim he was trying to increase his fame and public visibility by using his insider knowledge. John Kiriakou worked for the CIA as an intelligence officer from 1990-2004.
Many hoped that officials involved in rendition and torture under the Bush administration would be brought to justice by Obama. But even on his first day in office in January 2009, Obama made it clear that he would as he put it, be looking forward: "...he said that month that while he did not “believe that anybody is above the law,” he preferred “to look forward as opposed to looking backwards” and that he did not want C.I.A. employees to “suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering.” "
Both Obama and Eric Holder, Obama's Attorney General at the time, had condemned water-boarding and other torture methods allowed under the Bush administration. John Brennan, Obama.s chief counter-terrorism advisor whom he has nominated for CIA chief did not. This is not surprising since Brennan was also a key intelligence official within the Bush administration: "In 1999 he was appointed chief of staff to George Tenet, then-Director of the CIA.[3][6] Brennan became deputy executive director of the CIA in March 2001.[3] He was director of the newly created Terrorist Threat Integration Center from 2003 to 2004, an office that sifted through and compiled information for President Bush's daily top secret intelligence briefings and employed the services of analysts from a dozen U.S. agencies and entities."
Eric Holder did examine specific cases of the deaths of two prisoners but decided that he did not have enough evidence to prosecute. When water-boarding incidents were examined they were studied only in terms of use of the practice that exceeded legal limits set out in the Bush rules which claimed the practice was not torture! Holder's decision ensured that there would be no more looking backward---except in the case of whistleblowers.
Only bad deeds should remain unpunished. Good deeds that embarrassed the government must be punished no matter how long ago they occurred even if they happened under a rival administration and the practices revealed were condemned by Obama and Holder.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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