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Arlington Resident, Fmr. CIA Officer Pleads Guilty to Covert Disclosure

by ARLnow.com | October 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm | 7,016 views | 41 Comments

A former CIA officer who lives in Arlington has pleaded guilty to revealing the name of a covert CIA officer to a journalist.

John Kiriakou, 48, agreed to a 30 month prison sentence for disclosing the covert officer’s name. The crime was detailed in a statement of facts entered in the case.

From a U.S. Department of Justice press release:

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, 48, of Arlington, Va., pleaded guilty today to disclosing to a journalist the name of a covert CIA officer and also admitted to disclosing information revealing the role of another CIA employee in classified activities.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.

Kiriakou pleaded guilty today to one count of intentionally disclosing information identifying a covert agent. As part of the plea agreement, the United States and Kiriakou agree that a sentence of 30 months in prison is the appropriate disposition of this case. Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 25, 2013.

“The government has a vital interest in protecting the identities of those involved in covert operations,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Leaks of highly sensitive, closely held and classified information compromise national security and can put individual lives in danger.”

“Disclosing classified information, including the names of CIA officers, to unauthorized individuals is a clear violation of the law,” said Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “Today’s plea would not be possible without the hard work of the prosecutors and FBI Special Agents and analysts who brought this case to justice, and who will continue to pursue those who ignore their obligations to protect national security secrets.”

According to court records, the case is a result of an investigation triggered by a classified filing in January 2009 by defense counsel for high-value detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This filing contained classified information the defense had not been given through official government channels, including photographs of certain government employees and contractors. The investigation revealed that on multiple occasions one of the journalists to whom Kiriakou illegally disclosed classified information, in turn, disclosed that information to a defense team investigator. This information was reflected in the classified defense filing and enabled the defense team to take or obtain surveillance photographs of government personnel. The government has made no allegations of criminal activity by any members of the defense team for the detainees.

Kiriakou was a CIA intelligence officer between 1990 and 2004, serving at headquarters and in various classified overseas assignments. Upon joining the CIA in 1990 and on multiple occasions in following years, Kiriakou signed secrecy and non-disclosure agreements not to disclose classified information to unauthorized individuals. In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Kiriakou admitted that he made illegal disclosures about two CIA employees and their involvement in classified operations to two journalists (referenced as “Journalist A” and “Journalist B” in court records) on multiple occasions between 2007 and 2009.

Kiriakou admitted that, through a series of emails with Journalist A, he disclosed the full name of a CIA officer (referred to as “Officer A” in court records) whose association with the CIA had been classified for more than two decades. In addition to identifying the officer for the journalist, Kiriakou also provided information that helped the journalist link the officer to a particular classified operation.

In addition, Kiriakou admitted that he disclosed to Journalists A and B the name and contact information of a CIA analyst, identified in court records as “Officer B,” along with his association with an operation to capture terrorism subject Abu Zubaydah in 2002. Kiriakou knew that the association of Officer B with the Abu Zubaydah operation was classified. Based in part on this information, Journalist B subsequently published a June 2008 front-page story in The New York Times disclosing Officer B’s alleged role in the Abu Zubaydah operation.

Without Kiriakou’s knowledge, Journalist A passed the information he obtained from Kiriakou to an investigator assisting in the defense of high-value detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Kiriakou also admitted that he lied to the CIA regarding the existence and use of a classified technique, referred to as a “magic box,” while seeking permission from the CIA’s Publications Review Board to include the classified technique in a book.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance from the CIA and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Iris Lan of the Southern District of New York, Mark E. Schneider and Ryan Fayhee of the Northern District of Illinois, and W. Neil Hammerstrom Jr. of the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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  • drax
    • sunflower

      we can only hope….

    • Al Gore

      How about Bradley Manning?

      • malaka

        well Al as you know he has already been banged up for 2 1/2 years. Unlike Scooter whose sole motivation was spite.

      • drax

        Manning is awaiting trial.

        Issa, on the other hand, has actually read sensitive info into the Congressional Record just so he can avoid prosecution under the Speech and Debate clause of the Constitution. He’s a pathetic weasel who has compromised national security and U.S. lives in his zeal to blame Obama for everything bad that happens.

  • Mike Honcho

    The White House has been releasing classified information about all kinds of classified operations for years. When do we start seeing prosecutions for these leaks? Doesn’t matter which party, security is paramount.

    • JohnB

      Actually, security is secondary to liberty.

      • Westover245

        Depends on your definition of liberty, I guess.

        • Josh S

          What definition of liberty would be subservient to secrecy?

          • UptonHiller

            Are you talking about this particular crime? Seems obvious, the liberty to talk about secret information is curtailed by the government, in the name of security. Are you disagreeing with that?

      • Southeast Ben

        Life is before Liberty and revealing names of classified operatives is a big no-no.

        Obama will likely pardon him anyway…in his attempt to make the classified world more transparent for all.

        • drax

          Like Bush commuted Libby’s sentence?

      • Mike Honcho

        Your liberty does not supersede the security/safety of this nation and/or an undercover operative.

        • Josh S

          My liberty is equally as important as anyone else’s liberty.

          THe nation is not worth perserving if it does not protect the liberty of its citizens.

    • JimPB

      The President is THE decider regarding classification.

      Declassifying has been a practice of Presidents for decades.

      • Uh, no…

        I’m pretty sure that’s false. Otherwise, presidents could “out” case officers as they please, if the latter are discovered to be supporters of the opposition party.

        Yes, any POTUS can issue an Executive Order, but he can’t just say “Sue Smith is a covert CIA officer” and thus ruin her career and endanger the lives of her assets (informants).

        What Traitor Libby did surely got some very brave US sympathizers killed. He should’ve been sent to jail, if not worse.

        • Quoth the Raven

          Yeah, I think Jim just made that up.

        • drax

          On Libby – he did nothing. He was prosecuted for lying in the investigation, but not for actually outing anyone. It turns out he wasn’t the one who did it. The real culprit, Richard Armitage, admitted it publicly after Libby was investigated.

          Calling someone a traitor is a serious thing. Lay off the traitor accusations until you know the facts.

  • Arlington Cat

    Hey, if Bob Novak and Scooter Libby can go to jail for the breaking the same law, a former CIA officer should not be exempt from the same crime.

    Wait a minute, something’s not right here.

    • drax

      Bob Novak didn’t break the law.

    • Jeff

      Scooter didn’t do time only because Bush commuted his sentence.

    • Mandy

      Good for you! That’s EXACTLY what I wanted to say…..!!!

  • Scott

    Scooter Libby & Robert Novak didn’t do time

  • scumsuckingcondodweller

    don’t want to keep all the secrets ? then don’t sign the NDA and don’t take the job. There is a choice and the penalties for not complying with the signed contracts are clear.

    the law doesn’t say ‘”evaluate how you feel about keeping the secrets and then decide if you want to keep them”

    • Josh S

      On the other hand, the law was written by human beings as fallible as anyone else. Nor was it possible for the writers of the law to anticipate every possible combination of facts and circumstances. This is what judges, juries, etc are for. We’ll see what happens next.

  • Paul

    Bet this’ll get 0.000001% of the media attention that the non-outing of Valerie Plame did. That witchhunt went on for years. Also, the DOJ release avoids the fact that this clown as the chief investigator for John Kerry on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    • Scott

      The “witchhunt” was warranted as members of the White House administration acted against the country by outing one of its own operatives. T

      • Paul

        All true, except there was no “outing” and it didn’t originate in the White House. The first disclosure to Novak came from Richard Armitage.

        • Scott

          Scooter Libby was convicted of this crime.

          • Paul

            Um, no. Cheney aide Scooter Libby (for whom I have little sympathy, btw) was prosecuted and found guilty for one count of obstruction of justice, another for making false statements and two counts of perjury. Fitzgerald declined to prosecute any underlying crime (the alleged “outing”) and never charged Richard Armitage, the avowed originator of the leak. Libby was acquitted on a second count of making false statements.

          • drax

            Paul is right.

            It’s always the coverup.

      • Josh S

        For political gain.

    • Josh S

      Can we all call you a clown when your transgressions are made public? Or would you prefer that we reserve judgment until we know all sides of the story?

  • Sim City

    spy stories: one of the benefits of living in Arlington.

    • Mandy

      The ONLY benefit!!!

  • SouthArlJD

    This guy’s a toad. Y’all have forgotten his little tour a few years ago where he made all the Sunday news shows blabbing away about how effective torture was and how it had resulted in actionable intelligence. I watched him on one – think it was Stephanopolous’s This Week – squirm and have to admit he wasn’t even there for the interrogations and had no first hand knowledge at all. He’s one of those guys who has to look and feel important, so of course he was going to release as much information as he could in order to bolster his credibility. Well, this isn’t the deal for anyone who agrees to work for the CIA. He had gotten by with revealing little things and kept going until he pissed off the right people and finally had to answer for his actions.

  • coppa

    He should be yarn bombed!

    • Oh dear

      That goes against the very fabric of our nation.

      • Oh That is Just A Yarn

        Does yarn count as fabric……inquiring minds want to know ??

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  • Rory of the Hills

    When will those responsible for cherry picking and dressing up intelligence to support the invasion of Iraq be prosecuted?

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