60 Minutes, the national news show on CBS aired a segment
a few weeks back featuring Mike Morrell, former deputy director of the CIA, who made a rather startling admission - America has used torture as early as 2002, and it was wrong.
A reality that should absolutely disgust any American, but probably comes as no great surprise, especially since John Kiriakou
, a former high level operative/analyst for the CIA, revealed such actions back in 2007. You'd think John Kiriakou would be championed for exposing this lapse in moral judgment, and oversight, especially given President Obama's rhetoric on championing human rights.
Of course, John Kiriakou is now serving a 30 month sentence in prison, after electing to accept a plea deal to prevent the journalists he was working with to expose these torture programs from testifying under oath in court, endangering those journalists' own freedoms and livelihoods, taking the heat all upon himself.
The government made an example out of John Kiriakou, who revealed government crimes. Government authoritarians lauded the effectiveness of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act that lead to John's conviction, and future whistleblowers and journalists everywhere were sent a chilling message ' reveal the government's secrets, even illegal ones, at great risk to your own freedoms and livelihoods.
John conveyed to me that he viewed that 60 Minutes piece in prison, a piece he had a direct hand in shaping, even if it took over six years and going to prison to accomplish. I hope John slept very sound that night, after watching that 60 Minutes episode, hopefully it helped to redeem a little of the enormous personal sacrifices John Kiriakou and his family have made to expose the truth for all of us.
Mr. Kiriakou was kind enough to answer a few questions I sent him, and I would like to share them below:
: As a whistleblower, what would be the ideal mechanism to report on illegal and harmful activities be without placing the whistleblower in harm's way?
: The ideal mechanism for reporting waste, fraud, abuse, and illegality is to work through official channels. Of course, this frequently doesn't work. I would advise hiring an attorney or approaching the Government Accountability Project, and then going through channels. If that doesn't work, it's time to go public, but only with legal representation.
: Since you are in a very unique situation, a former dedicated agent of the State, and a whistleblower against it, what are your thoughts on the NSA leaks? Do you believe there are good leaks and bad leaks, or that all illegal activities and programs the U.S. is engaged in should be made transparent for the American electorate to sort out at the polls?
: I believe that Edward Snowden's actions were brave and patriotic. The issue with the NSA leaks is not whether or not we were intercepting foreign leader's conversations. It is WHY are we intercepting Americans' conversations and emails with no warrant and no probable cause? This is unconstitutional and illegal, and we wouldn't have known about it without Ed Snowden. I do believe there are some bad leaks. Bad leaks put Americans' lives in danger or compromise legal clandestine operations meant to protect the American people. But illegal activities and programs should cease immediately. This is where Congressional oversight is at its weakest.
: Do you believe not having the proper mechanisms to whistleblow effectively leaves our Republic vulnerable to mass leaks that may put our citizens in harm's way, from other nations we are spying on or manipulating financially or politically?
: I absolutely believe that a lack of a proper reporting mechanism leaves us vulnerable. If Ed Snowden has had such a mechanism available to him, and if there had been proper oversight of NSA programs, many of these embarrassing, but legal, revelations would not have been made. I believe that in this way, the government brought many of these problems on itself.
: What does the reality of your situation tell you about our current state of governance? Specifically, how do you feel about the fact that confessed torturers are not being prosecuted, but the one (you) who revealed theses heinous acts is the only one prosecuted and imprisoned?
: I'm very disappointed in our government for protecting the tortures, the designers of the torture, the attorneys who justified the torture, and the officials who destroyed evidence of the torture. It is ironic that the person who blew the whistle on the torture is the only one to go to prison. With that said, thinking people know the truth. And I know in my heart that history will vindicate me.
If you would like to send John Kiriakou a letter to help him pass this most unfair sentence he faces, or to financially assist in the enormous debt occurred by John Kiriakou in his fight for his freedom, that has cost him and his family dearly, please visit his website
for more information.