To his defenders former CIA officer John Kiriakou is a whistleblower who revealed the use of torture on terror suspects, but the government says that when he leaked the identity of a covert agent he was motivated by ego and money, seeking to “raise his media profile”.
In a deal with prosecutors Espionage Act charges were dropped and Kiriakou became only the second person ever convicted under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Also part of the deal was a prison sentence of 30 months instead of the eight years he faced under sentencing guidelines.
Supporters who signed a letter to President Obama asking that the sentence be commuted include NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and Government Accountability Project director Jesselyn Radack who were seated in the courtroom today.
WaPo story here.
Arguing that that a reporter’s direct testimony about his source, in this case former CIA agent Jeffrey Alexander Sterling who has been charged under the Espionage Act of sharing classified information with NYT reporter James Risen, is important in obtaining a conviction despite a strong circumstantial case, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Welch told the judge “I hate to use this example, but I think we all know the difference, given what happened in Florida three days ago.”
Seeking to quash the subpoena for Risen’s testimony, his lawyer, Joel Kurtzberg told Judge Brinkema, “A reporter should be a last resort, not a first resort.” “They have an interest in law enforcement,” he said. “We have an interest in freedom of the press and ensuring that information flows to reporters.”
The defendant in the case, Jeffrey Sterling, is seated second from left in the above drawing.
Politico’s Josh Gerstein has the story (from which I lifted the quotes-thanks Josh!) here.
“The facts won’t make any difference” roared Judge “Roarin’ Oren” Lewis as Frank Snepp’s ACLU lawyer, Mark Lynch, attempted to make an argument. You won’t find that statement in the hearings transcript though, as it, along with many other prejudicial remarks by the judge, was expunged from the record. Frank Snepp, a former CIA analyst in Saigon during the Vietnam War, was facing trial for failing to get approval from the Agency, as per an agreement he had signed, before publishing his book “Decent Interval” which criticized the U.S. Government’s helicopter evacuation of Saigon from the embassy rooftop. The driving force behind Snepp’s prosecution, which the Justice Department was reluctant to bring, was the new Director of the CIA, Admiral Stansfield Turner, who was outraged that Snepp had broken his secrecy agreement. Turner later admitted under cross-examination that he had never read the agreement signed by Snepp.
After two days of hearings Snepp was denied a jury trial, and Judge Lewis entered a judgement in favor of the U.S., ordering Snepp to relinquish all royalties and advances from the book and enjoining him from ever speaking about anything relating to his CIA employment without prior review by the agency. The case was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court where the government won roundly.
BTW that’s a young Alan Dershowitz slumped in his chair on the left.
US District Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr seemed reluctant to grant the request by an attorney representing several Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo to compel the government to explain the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes. “Why should the court not permit the Department of Justice to do just that?” he asked David H. Remes, the lawyer for the detainees.
Remes, pictured below at the podium, replied “Plainly, the government wants only foxes guarding the henhouse.”
Washington Post story here.
Posted in Courtroom
Tagged with: CIA