Ex-CIA officer pleads guilty to one charge in leak case
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou leaves court in January.
October 23rd, 2012
12:54 PM ET

Ex-CIA officer pleads guilty to one charge in leak case

[Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET] A former CIA officer accused of revealing classified information to reporters has pleaded guilty to one of the allegations that he illegally revealed the identity of a covert intelligence officer.

John Kiriakou, 48, also admitted to other allegations, including that he illegally told reporters the name of a different CIA employee involved in a 2002 operation to capture alleged al Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah, and that he lied to a review board about a book he was writing, the Justice Department said.

But in a deal with prosecutors, Kiriakou pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, only to the charge that he illegally revealed the first intelligence officer's name, the Justice Department said.

Kiriakou and prosecutors agreed to a prison sentence of 30 months. Judge Leonie Brinkema said she accepted the agreement, but sentencing will take place January 25.

The former CIA officer also agreed to give up his pension rights, though his wife still will be eligible to receive it if the attorney general says she has cooperated fully with the case.

Kiriakou, who was an intelligence officer from 1990 to 2004, had faced five charges, for which he could have received up to 45 years in prison.

After leaving court Tuesday, Kiriakou did not talk but stood while his attorney, Robert Trout, described him as a "loyal American who loves his country deeply." Trout indicated that Kiriakou would not have caused any harm on purpose.

An investigation began when lawyers for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainees issued a court filing with classified information that the government hadn't provided. A probe found that the defense got the information from a journalist, who got it from Kiriakou, the Justice Department said.

Prosecutors say Kiriakou gave one journalist the name of a covert CIA officer and helped the reporter link him to a classified operation. Separately, Kiriakou told that journalist and a second reporter that a certain CIA analyst was associated with the Abu Zubaydah operation, even though the analyst's involvement was classified, the Justice Department said.

Zubaydah is one of three detainees the CIA later admitted waterboarding during interrogations. A government report revealed the simulated drowning technique was used on him 83 times. Zubaydah has yet to be charged by the U.S. government and is incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay.

Prosecutors also say Kiriakou, who co-wrote the book "The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror," lied to a CIA board that reviewed the book in 2008 before it was published.

According to the indictment, Kiriakou wrote about a classified investigative technique, and then lied to the review board when he told it that the technique was fictionalized. A CIA review board goes over all books and other writings by former or current CIA employees to guard against any disclosure of classified material.

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Filed under: CIA • Courts • Crime • Justice
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Dagobert II

    Klaus Von Stauffenberg was also labeled a traitor and executed, but somehow, today, many people seem to have changed their minds. Today's hero can be tomorrow's villain and vice versa.

    October 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • what?

      ...and people ask why an agent of the federal or state government would not rat on the perpetrators of 911.

      October 24, 2012 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Z_2k

      How you can draw a parallel between Herr von Stauffenberg and Mr. Kiriakou is beyond me. Do you just spew this stuff out off the top of your head ?

      October 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. krehator

    Karl Rove is a GOP hero and a commentator on Fox News though.......

    October 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. patricia kronquist

    your not funny

    October 23, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Larry

    Now they need to prosecute Cheney for outing CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson.

    October 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      It has been proven- repeatedly- that there was no substance to the Plame case. One, it was Richard Armitage who outed her- and he is hardly a Republican of any kind. Two, Plame was not a covert operative; she was an open analyst, not in the field, not in any way doing James Bond type stuff. Hollywood "drramatized" the Hell out of that because they hate W, no doubt, but the facts tell an entirely different story.

      October 24, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Inglourious

      @John: Plame had previously worked covertly overseas, regardless of her job at the time of being outed. Publicly identifying her as a CIA officer put foreign nationals that she previously dealt with at risk for reprisal.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. arg

    The Bush adminastration never made a serious effort to proscute the people who outed Valery Plame

    October 24, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. MollyBee

    One comment. Valerie Plame. Where's the justice for what happened to her?

    October 24, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. george

    not to dismiss or trivialize the valerie plame issue,(if warranted let there be an investigation and or trial ) but please let us deal with today's issues today. What does Karl Rove have to do with this crime Krehater?What is the connection between John Kiriakou and the Bush administration Arg? Larry is there a connection between this traitor and Cheny that you know of? Maybe not Apples and oranges MolleyBee but Valencia's and Navels at least.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lee Oates

    Cheney and Bush are war criminals...period. But being rich powerful Americans, will get away with it.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Me

    You mean to tell me that a CIA officer traained his entiere career to lie, and steal other's secrets on behalf of our country, lied to his agency? What a suprise. CIA is a culture of lies – sometimes they forget who is on their side.

    October 24, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sal

    Agreed sir. Take them out and shut it down. Use saved money for more bullets.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
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