The Back Story to Kiriakou’s Guilty Plea



Let’s be clear. There is one reason, and one reason only, that John Kiriakou pleaded guilty: for the certainty that he will be out of jail in 2 1/2 years to see his five children grow up.



The government dropped 80% of its case, including all Espionage Act charges, after Kiriakou pleaded guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA). There are no reported cases interpreting the Espionage Act because it’s nearly impossible to prove — “outing” a torturer.

“Outing” is in 

quotes because the charge is not that Kiriakou’s actions resulted in a public disclosure of the name of the torturer, but that through a chain of causation Guantanamo torture victims learned the name of one of their oppressors.

Regardless, how does outing a torturer hurt the national security of the US? It is like arguing that outing a Nazi guarding a concentration camp would hurt the national security of Germany.

In the last couple of weeks, it became public that the CIA officer listed as “Officer A” in the John Kiriakou complaint has been revealed to be Thomas Donahue Fletcher, born in 1953. Journalists have known the 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.

John Kiriakou’s guilty plea is the tragic bookend to the torture narrative: Kiriakou will be going to jail, while Fletcher happily enjoys retirement in Virginia, safe with protection.

Here is a rogue’s gallery of some of the people who got away with torture, in addition to Fletcher:

Jose Rodriguez, Enrique “Ricky” Prado, Alfreda Bikowsky, all of the lawyers who said it was legal (including my law school contemporary, John Yoo– enjoying his tenured professorship at a prestigious law school) and now-federal judge Jay Bybee, twisted psychiatrists –including criminal contractors James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen– not to mention all of the names we still do not know of the anonymous masked brutes who kidnapped, rendered, beat, waterboarded, and deprived prisoners of the most basic of human dignities.

The only person to be criminally prosecuted, and now 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.

Lack of prosecution for torture itself spans both administrations. The UK Guardian reported that two days after 9/11, the head of counter-terrorism under the Bush administration, Cofer Black, was bragging about leaving suspects with “flies walking across their eyeballs” and proposing the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, which resulted in the torture and death of a still unknown number of people.

Whether those people committed any crime, much less terrorism, will probably never be fully known.

-Jesselyn Radack is the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project. This article originally appeared in the Daily Kos and was edited by The Islamic Post.

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