Ralph Nader, Bruce Fein and Joan Claybrook today called on President Barack Obama to pardon John Kiriakou.
Kiriakou is the former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer who blew the whistle on the U.S. government’s use of waterboarding as an interrogation technique.
On October 22, 2012, Kiriakou pled guilty to disclosing classified information about a fellow CIA officer.
In a letter to Obama, Nader, Fein and Claybrook said that Kiriakou pled guilty “to avoid the government’s threat of long-term devastation of his cherished family.”
“He pled guilty to the crime of providing the name of a former colleague to an author who was writing a book and searching for former CIA officers to interview, an act which seems much less censorable than Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage’s disclosure of the CIA’s Valerie Plame to reporter Robert Novak with impunity,” they wrote.
“Mr. Kiriakou’s disclosure never was made publicly available, and occasioned no harm to the United States. Indeed, it assisted in ending waterboarding, the crime of torture as you and your Attorney General have acknowledged.”
“In contrast, Mr. Armitage’s disclosure was shared to the world by Mr. Novak, and reportedly placed in danger persons who had associated with Ms. Plame. The reporter of Mr. Kiriakou’s information unilaterally shared the name with the American Civil Liberties Union.”
Nader, Fein and Claybrook said Kiriakou is “an anti-torture whistleblower who spoke out against torture because he believed it violated his oath to the Constitution.”
“He never tortured anyone, yet he is the only individual to be prosecuted in relation to the torture program of the past decade,” they wrote.
“The interrogators who tortured prisoners, the officials who gave the orders, the attorneys who authored the torture memos, and the CIA officers who destroyed the interrogation tapes have not been held professionally accountable, much less charged with crimes.”