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article imageFormer CIA officer John Kiriakou writes open letter to Snowden

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jul 3, 2013 in World
Firedoglake.com has published a letter to Edward Snowden by former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou serving a thirty-month prison sentence in Loretto, Pennsylvania for leaking the identity of a covert CIA agent.
This is the second letter by Kiriakou that Firedoglake has published since he went to prison.
According to the Huffington Post, Kiriakou worked with the CIA from 1990 to 2004. In 2007, he revealed to the world how the CIA used torture to extract information from prisoners as a matter of official policy under the administration of President George W. Bush. He revealed that the CIA used waterboarding as an interrogation technique.
In the letter sent from prison in Loretto, Pa., to his attorney Jesselyn Radack of Government Accountability Project, Kiriakou praises Snowden for his heroism and expresses support for him.
He writes: "Thank you for your revelations of government wrong-doing over the past week. You have done the country a great public service. I know that it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders right now, but as Americans begin to realize that we are devolving into a police state, with the loss of civil liberties that entails, they will see your actions for what they are: heroic."
He continues: "I wanted to offer you the benefit of my own whistleblowing experience and aftermath so that you don’t make the same mistakes that I made."
He advises Snowden to find the "best national security attorneys money can buy." He recommends his attorneys with praise: "I was blessed to be represented by legal titans and, although I was forced to take a plea in the end, the shortness of my sentence is a testament to their expertise."
He also advises him to start a website where his supporters would be able to receive updates on the latest developments in his case, and to mobilize them for donations to his defense.
He writes: "You’re going to need the support of prominent Americans and groups who can explain to the public why what you did is so important. Although most members of Congress are mindless lemmings following our national security leadership over a cliff, there are several clear thinkers on The Hill who could be important sources of support. Cultivate them."
He advises Snowden to contact the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Government Accountability Project and similar organizations dedicated to the struggle for human rights and freedoms.
He declares what he calls his "most important" piece of advice for Snowden: That he should not "under any circumstances" cooperate with the FBI. He writes, based on his own personal experience: "FBI agents will lie, trick, and deceive you. They will twist your words and play on your patriotism to entrap you. They will pretend to be people they are not – supporters, well-wishers, and friends – all the while wearing wires to record your out-of-context statements to use against you. The FBI is the enemy; it’s a part of the problem, not the solution."
Kiriakou's advice to Snowden should be valuable judging from the fact that he has worked for the FBI for many years. He was convicted in October last year of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), after leaking the name of an officer in the CIA's Renditon, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter.
In an interview with Firedoglake before his sentence, Kiriakou gave an insight into FBI entrapment methods:
In... 2010, a foreign intelligence officer offered me cash in exchange for classified information. I turned down the pitch and I immediately reported it to the FBI. So, the FBI asked me to take the guy out to lunch and to ask him what information he wanted and how much information he was willing to give me for it.
After the lunch, I wrote a long memo to the FBI... and we only learned this three or four weeks ago – there never was a foreign intelligence officer. It was an FBI agent pretending to be an intelligence officer and they were trying to set me up on an Espionage Act charge but I repeatedly reported the contact so I foiled them in their effort to set me up.
Firedoglake emphasizes the fact that Snowden is aware of Kiriakou's case and has referred to it once, saying that it illustrates "how overly-harsh responses to public-interest whistle-blowing only escalate the scale, scope, and skill involved in future disclosures."
In an earlier letter, Kiriakou gave details of his life in prison. In the letter also published by Firedoglake, Kiriakou recounts an incident in which "prison officials attempted to setup a confrontation between [Kiriakou] and a Muslim prisoner, telling [Kiriakou] he was the uncle of the Times Square bomber, when in reality the imam was in prison for refusing to testify in the Lackawanna Six case. Prison officials also lied to the Muslim prisoner, telling him that [Kiriakou] had called Washington after they met and had been ordered to kill him."
Prior to his sentencing, Kiriakou told the Huffington Post that Obama's Justice Department was just as "bad as the Bush Justice Department was, we didn't see this kind of... vindictive and selective prosecution of people that we see under Obama... That's really what it is, it's vindictive and it's selective."
Firedoglake describes itself as an organization that "supports the right of prisoners like Kiriakou to exercise their First Amendment rights from within the walls of prison."
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