A CIA whistleblower who was among the first to expose details of the spy agency’s use of waterboarding and other torture methods against Muslim suspects accused of terrorism was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison by a US judge.
The 48-year-old former CIA agent John Kiriakou, who worked for the spy agency between 1990 and 2004 and was involved in the capture of a ‘terror suspect,’ received the jail term on Friday by US District Judge Leonie Brinkema, who proclaimed that the sentence she issued was “way too light.”
The judge harshly rejected the notion that Kiriakou was a whistleblower concerned about the illegal use of harsh torture tactics by American spies and intelligence officers and said, “This is a case of a man who betrayed a solemn trust.”
In a 2007 televised interview with the US-based ABC News, Kiriakou offered a dramatic description of the use of waterboarding in torturing a suspect that he had helped capture, Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, also identified as Abu Zubaida.
Furthermore in 2008 and 2009, Kiriakou reportedly revealed to journalists the name of a CIA agent who had taken part in interrogation and torture of suspects captured by the agency’s operatives abroad, court documents allege.
Government prosecutors claim that Kiriakou’s motive for detailing the use of torture tactics by American officers was to raise his media profile to get consulting work and sell copies of a book he wrote about his involvement in the US “war on terror.”
According to local press reports, Kiriakou was the first individual convicted in the past 27 years of violating the “Intelligence Identities Protection Act” and his prosecution is part of a wider crackdown on the disclosure of “national security information” by the Obama administration.