DOJ Railroads CIA Torture Whistleblower Into Reduced Guilty Plea

from the shameful dept

Back in April, we wrote about how the Obama administration, for the astounding sixth time, had used the Espionage Act — which is supposed to be used against spies — to bring criminal charges against a former government employee-turned-whistleblower. All other Presidents prior to Obama put together had used the Espionage Act in this manner three times. Yes, the Obama administration has doubled all previous such uses. Last year, lots of attention was paid to the case of Thomas Drake, which ended in a weak plea bargain, after much of the government’s case fell apart. This year, the attention was on this latest case, against former CIA agent, John Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on how the CIA tortured people via waterboarding.

In a sane society, such whistleblowing would receive a hero’s welcome, and the people involved in torture would be in jail. President Obama has said that waterboarding is torture, as has Attorney General Eric Holder, who runs the DOJ. Given that, combined with Obama’s repeated insistence that his administration must encourage whistleblowing, you would think that the administration, led by the DOJ, would celebrate a CIA agent who exposes such practices, and seek to punish those who carried them out.

Instead, we have the reverse. This morning, Kiriakou plead guilty, though to a much lesser charge — that of “revealing an undercover operative’s identity.” Similar to the Drake case, they found narrow grounds for a guilty plea. The plea document and the associated “statement of facts” are embedded below for your horror. They tell… uh… a very one-sided view of the story, leaving out all the pesky little details about torture. Kiriakou was more or less forced into taking the deal after a judge had ridiculously ruled that you didn’t have to intend to harm the US to be guilty under the Espionage Act. How is it possibly espionage against a country if you don’t intend to harm that country?

The whole proceeding (and all of these other cases) have seriously called into question the Obama administration’s supposed support of whistleblowers. It’s clear that was a horrible joke played on the public when Obama insisted he wanted to encourage whistleblowing. Before these latest events, Bloomberg had an absolutely scathing story and editorial about the administrations abuse of power under the Espionage Act to beat down any whistleblowers.

As the Government Accountability Project notes, the tragedy in all of this is that Kiriakou goes to jail, while the actual torturer, remains free. They note that this plea lets the case be over, and makes sure that Kiriakou will be out of jail in 2.5 years — and will get to see his children grow up. But the whole claim of “outing” is ridiculous:

“Outing” is quotes because the charge is not that Kiriakou’s actions resulted in a public disclosure of the name, but that through a Kevin Bacon-style chain of causation, GITMO torture victims learned the name of one of their possible torturers. Regardless, how does outing a torturer hurt the national security of the U.S.? It’s like arguing that outing a Nazi guarding a concentration camp would hurt the national security of Germany.

They further note that the CIA agent “outed,” Thomas Fletcher, was widely known to reporters well before Kiriakou mentioned his name to reporters. As GAP notes:

An effectively-forced plea from John Kiriakou will be the 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.”

Oh, and not just that, but:

The only person to be criminal prosecuted, and now likely jailed, as a result of the Bush-era torture regime is John Kiriakou, who refused to participate in torture, helped expose the program, and said on national television that torture was wrong.

Shameful. Oh, and as an aside to folks here who have spent time following the Megaupload case, the guy who headed up this case for the DOJ, Neil MacBride… is the same guy who’s heading up the Megaupload prosecution.

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Comments on “DOJ Railroads CIA Torture Whistleblower Into Reduced Guilty Plea”

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gorehound (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Better to say that the USA is sailing into dangerous grounds and has been for Decades.It will all come to an end this Century.The Constant Erosion of our RIGHTS, the Economic Loss because of A-Hole Rich Greedbags, and the growing problems of Global Warming should provide the Stimulus for some really bad times.
USA equals KRAP nowadays.I hate my government.Feds can lick my Dog’s Butt !

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Speaking of which, how come foreign multinational corporations can give unlimited campaign contributions to american presidential runners when foreigners doesn’t get to vote? I don’t mean that foreigners should get a vote, but is it ok for foreign citizens to donate money to american candidates for public offices? If no, then how is it ok when a multinational “corporate citizen” with uncertain nationality can get away with buying american public officals?

Jay (profile) says:

So let me get this straight...

The USG believes that a whistleblower just outed someone…

When Darrell Issa does the same thing and puts Libyans in jeapardy. Further, Julian Assange has an indictment in the US against him for nothing more than being a journalist with integrity.

I want two things here:

First, ALL Republicans should be out of office because they’ve done the exact same things that lead to the FIRST Republican Depression.

Second, I want my democracy back. Not this plutocracy where journalists and people with a conscience are punished for doing the right thing.

Is that so much to ask for that we don’t get a rich elite who control the police and try to turn us into the fall of the Roman Empire?

Is it so much to understand that this revolving door needs to be closed and of the 2 million in prison, we need to lock up some of the worst of the lobbyists and “congressmen” who decide to abuse their station for personal gain?

Motheius says:

Re: So let me get this straight...

So the Democrats get a free pass?

I’m not either a Democrat or a Republican, so lets get that out of the way.

I’m not re-electing B.O. because he hasn’t kept his end of the bargain: The Internet domain seizures, the spying on Americans, the exta-judicial assassinations of Americans, the immunity of large telcos for spying on Americans and all the stunts related to this article of a whistle blower who’s done the right thing and now is getting screwed for it.

People, these two parties are both sides of the same coin. They are the same thing. Neither of these parties have average people’s interests at heart.

B.O. Didn’t keep his promises. Sure, the job of POTUS is hard. I get it. But, if you bend that easy then I don’t believe you need to be rewarded with staying in office another 4 years.

Will M.R. be any better. Sadly no, I’m sure he will not. But as he proves to us that he isn’t, then we fire him as well and go to the next person and so on and so forth until they finally realize that we need someone with a lot more back bone then what’s normally been passing as politicians for the last 50+ years.

Chris-Mouse (profile) says:

Re: Re: So let me get this straight...

Electing Romney instead of Obama won`t change much. The money behind the two political parties has selected a pair of candidates. You get to select which candidate runs the country for the next four years. No matter which one you pick, you`re still picking one of the candidates selected by the people with the money to buy a political party.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: So let me get this straight...

No, I don’t like everything BO had done for Hollywood. But we have a choice between MR who is a serial liar our BO that can actually admit that corporations are not people and money is property, not speech.

MR changes positions more than a prostitute on the 4th of July. He wants war in Iran and owns the voting machines used in Texas, Colorado, Georgia, and other states.

He well say ANYTHING to get elected. The Republicans have lost their right to hold Congress because they do NOT represent the majority of people. That is the point here. Sure, Democrats have their problems but Republicans are hideous for a number of reasons.

What is most treasonous is how Republicans (since BO’s inauguration) swore a blood oath to not work for the good of the nation. Darrell Issa represents the worst of that trend. He sacrificed Libyan assets just to embarrass the president. But he won’t make whistleblowing stronger our talk about Julian Assange in a positive light.

That’s the key issue here. I recognize that there are more Democrats who believe in more liberal positions. Just saying “a plague on both their houses” ignores the fact that even if both parties are bad, one is MUCH worse for the nation going forward.

out_of_the_blue says:

You had to jam in Megaupload. Get over your copyright mania.

Had me up to then: as I’ve said, shutting down Megaupload is one time of late that gov’t has been in the right morally, despite problems. Tossing it in here was inappropriate.

I have to remind that you, Mike, were teamed up in your SOPA lobbying with members of the Obama administration, plus legislators who are all complicit in the endless wars and every other gov’t horror. Learn from this that gov’t is totally corrupt and can’t be reformed. — And so are all corporations. — So perhaps you’re just naive all round.

Yet there’s stiil hope tha your cynicism can be ginned up: now you agree with me that the society is insane, or at least that can be inferred from: “In a sane society, such…”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You had to jam in Megaupload. Get over your copyright mania.

It’s not inappropriate, it’s just inconvenient for your pre-scripted narrative where anything that attacks ‘pirates’ (which for you is a group comprised not only of law breakers but those you’ve deemed such in spite of the fact that they abide by the law) is ‘moral.’

Anonymous Coward says:

and Obama is saying how, if he is elected for a second term, he will listen to the people. what absolute horse shit. he hasn’t listened to anyone so far, other than those that he fronts for, and has no intention of listening to anyone else in the future. if he is believed this time, when it is known that no changes will happen, the people deserve everything they get!! and be prepared for many more prisons to be built, especially to house the file sharers the entertainment industries will be getting him to lock up!!

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