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Peter Lemkin
01-30-2013, 04:31 PM
Former CIA agent John Kiriakou speaks out just days after he was sentenced to 30 months in prison, becoming the first CIA official to face jail time for any reason relating to the U.S. torture program. Under a plea deal, Kiriakou admitted to a single count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing the identity of a covert officer to a freelance reporter, who did not publish it. Supporters say Kiriakou is being unfairly targeted for having been the first CIA official to publicly confirm and detail the Bush administration’s use of waterboarding. Kiriakou joins to discuss his story from Washington, D.C., along with his attorney, Jesselyn Radack, director of National Security and Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project. "This was not a case about leaking, it was a case about torture. I believe I am going to prison because I blew the whistle on torture," Kiriakou says. "My oath was to the Constitution. … And to me, torture is unconstitutional."

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/30/ex_cia_agent_whistleblower_john_kiriakou

NERMEEN SHAIKH: A retired CIA agent who blew the whistle on the agency’s Bush-era torture program has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. John Kiriakou becomes the first CIA official to be jailed for any reason relating to the torture program. Under a plea deal, Kiriakou admitted to a single count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing the identity of a covert officer to a freelance reporter, who did not publish it. Under the plea deal, prosecutors dropped charges brought under the Espionage Act.

In 2007, Kiriakou became the first CIA official to publicly confirm and detail the Bush administration’s use of waterboarding when he spoke to ABC’s Brian Ross.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: At the time, I felt that waterboarding was something that we needed to do. And as time has passed and as September 11th has—you know, has moved farther and farther back into history, I think I’ve changed my mind, and I think that waterboarding is probably something that we shouldn’t be in the business of doing.

BRIAN ROSS: Why do you say that now?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Because we’re Americans, and we’re better than that.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou’s supporters say he has been unfairly targeted in the Obama administration’s crackdown on government whistleblowers. In a statement urging President Obama to commute Kiriakou’s sentence, a group of signatories including attorneys and former CIA officers said, quote, "[Kiriakou] is an anti-torture whistleblower who spoke out against torture because he believed it violated his oath to the Constitution. ... Please, Mr. President, do not allow your legacy to be one where only the whistleblower goes to prison."

Prosecutor Neil MacBride, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, defended the government’s handling of the case.

NEIL MacBRIDE: As the judge just said in court, today’s sentence should be a reminder to every individual who works for the government, who comes into the possession of closely held sensitive information regarding the national defense or the identity of a covert agent, that it is critical that that information remain secure and not spill out into the public domain or be shared with others who don’t have authorized access to it.

AMY GOODMAN: John Kiriakou joins us now from Washington, D.C. He spent 14 years at the CIA as an analyst and a case officer. In 2002, he led the team that found Abu Zubaydah, a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda. He’s father of five. In 2010, he published a memoir entitled The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror.

And we’re joined by one of John Kirakou’s attorneys, Jesselyn Radack. She’s the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project, a former ethics adviser to the United States Department of Justice.

We reached out to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia, but they declined our request for an interview.

John Kiriakou, why are you going to jail? Explain the plea deal you made with the government.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Well, thanks, first of all, for having me and giving me the opportunity to explain.

I’m going to prison, ostensibly, for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. I believe, and my supporters believe, that this, however, was not a case about leaking; this was a case about torture. And I believe I’m going to prison because I blew the whistle on torture. I’ve been a thorn in the CIA’s side since that interview in 2007, in which I said that waterboarding was torture and that it was official U.S. government policy. And I think, finally, the Justice Department caught up with me.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Jesselyn Radack, let me just bring you into the conversation to explain what the Intelligence Identities Protection Act is. Your client, John Kiriakou—it’s been invoked in his case for the first time in 27 years?

JESSELYN RADACK: That’s correct. In fact, there have only been two convictions under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which was enacted to prevent cases like Philip Agee, not things like John Kiriakou. It was to prevent the revealing of covert identities for profit or to aid the enemy. In this case, John confirmed the name of a torturer to a journalist, which makes Neil MacBride’s statement all the more hypocritical, because the biggest leaker of classified information, including sources and methods and undercover identities, has been the U.S. government.

AMY GOODMAN: John Kiriakou, explain what it is that you were trying to expose. Explain what you were involved with. Talk about Abu Zubaydah, your involvement in the finding of him, and then the course you took, where your conscience took you.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Sure. In 2002, I was the chief of counterterrorism operations for the CIA in Pakistan, and my job was to try to locate al-Qaeda fighters or al-Qaeda leaders and capture them, to turn them over to the Justice Department and have them face trial. That was the original—the original idea, not to have them sit in Cuba for the next decade.

But we caught Abu Zubaydah. He was shot three times by Pakistani police as he was trying to escape from his safe house. And I was the first person to have custody of him, to sit with him. We spoke to each other extensively, I mean, talked about everything from September 11th to poetry that he had been writing, to his family. And then he was moved on to a secret prison after that. Once I got back to headquarters, I heard that he had been subject to harsh techniques, then euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation techniques," and I was asked by one of the leaders in the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center if I wanted to be trained in the use of these techniques. I told him that I had a moral problem with them, and I did not want to be involved.

So, fast-forward to 2007. By then, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had reported that al-Qaeda prisoners had been tortured, and ABC News called and said that they had information that I had tortured Abu Zubaydah. I said that was absolutely untrue. I was the only person who was kind to Abu Zubaydah, and I had never tortured anybody. So, they asked me to go on their show and defend myself. I did that. And in the course of the interview, I said that not only was the CIA torturing prisoners, but that it was official U.S. government policy. This was not the result of some rogue CIA officer just beating up a prisoner every once in a while; this was official policy that went all the way up to the president of the United States.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And so, what happened after that, in 2007, once you gave this interview? Can you explain what happened to you and to your family?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Sure. Within 24 hours, the CIA filed what’s called a crimes report against me with the Justice Department, saying that I had revealed classified information, which was the torture program, and asking for an investigation with an eye toward prosecuting me. The Justice Department decided at the time that I had not revealed classified information, that the information was already in the public domain. But immediately, within weeks, I was audited by the IRS. I’ve been audited by the IRS every single year since giving that interview in 2007.

But a more important bit of fallout from that interview was that every time I would write an op-ed, every time I would give a television interview or give a speech at a university, the CIA would file a crimes report against me, accusing me of leaking additional classified information. Each time, the Justice Department determined that I did not leak any classified information. In fact, I would get those op-eds and those speeches cleared by the CIA’s Publications Review Board in advance.

Then the CIA started harassing my wife, who at the time was a senior CIA officer, particularly over an op-ed I had written. They accused her of leaking classified information to me for the purpose of writing the op-ed. Well, I said I had gotten the information in the op-ed from two UPI reports and from a South American Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. And they would back off.

But this sort of became our life. We would be under FBI surveillance. She would be called into the CIA’s Office of Security. I would have trouble getting a security clearance when I went to Capitol Hill. It just became this pattern of harassment.

AMY GOODMAN: So, John, why didn’t you stop?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Because I think that—that torture is something that needs to be discussed. I said this in 2007. This is something that we should—about which we should be having a national debate. And frankly, I have a First Amendment right to free speech. And, you know, writing an op-ed is not against the law. Giving a speech about the Arab Spring or about torture is not against the law. And I felt that—that I didn’t want to be cowed. I didn’t want to be frightened into silence by the CIA.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, John Kiriakou, you said that in these instances that you’ve named, you were actually charged with espionage, is that right? Can you talk about the significance—

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Yes.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: —of the Espionage Act?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Yes, the government initially charged me with three counts of espionage. I’m—it sounds silly maybe, but I’m still personally offended by these espionage charges, which were dropped, of course. The espionage charge is used as a hammer by the administration to force people into silence. My espionage charge is related to a conversation that I had with a New York Times reporter. A New York Times reporter approached me and said that he was writing a story about a colleague of mine, and would I grant him an interview. I gave him the interview. I said this colleague was a great guy, the unsung hero of the Abu Zubaydah operation, terrific officer. And the reporter said, "Do you know how I can get in touch with him?" And I said, "No, I’ve been out of touch with him for a while, but I think I might have his business card." So I gave the reporter the business card. Now, mind you, this is a CIA officer who had never, ever been undercover. His business card showed that he was involved as a CIA contractor, and it had his personal email on it and his cellphone number. I gave the reporter the business card and was charged with two counts of espionage. I later gave the same business card to another journalist who was doing an article and was charged with a third count of espionage.

AMY GOODMAN: What is it that you allege the CIA was doing for all of these years? Explain the torture program that you were trying to expose.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Sure. There were—there were something like 10 different techniques that were used in the CIA’s torture program. They went from the benign, you know, where an officer would grab a prisoner by the lapels and give him a shake, all the way up to the really rough things that we’ve heard about, like waterboarding or, what I think is worse, sleep deprivation or the cold cell, where they’ll put a prisoner naked in a cell chilled to 50 or 55 degrees, and then every hour or two throw ice water on him. I actually think those last two are worse than waterboarding.

But, again, these are techniques that we have condemned other countries for throughout history. The Japanese did this during the Second World War. The Belgians did it in Africa earlier in the century. The Chinese and the Vietnamese did it. This is—these are techniques that we have always said were crimes against humanity. And then it was the—it was though after September 11th everything changed, and we somehow had license to do the same things we had been condemning. I thought that was wrong. You know, Director Petraeus—former Director Petraeus made a statement in October when I agreed to take a plea to make these other charges go away, and he said that my conviction shows that we have to take our oaths seriously. Well, I took my oath seriously. My oath was to the Constitution. On my first day in the CIA, I put my right hand up, and I swore to uphold the Constitution. And to me, torture is unconstitutional, and it’s something that we should not be in the business of doing.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou, I want to play for you comments President Obama made four years ago, shortly before he took office, about whether CIA officials involved in torture should be prosecuted. He appeared on the ABC News’ This Week.

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that—for example, at the CIA, you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don’t want them to suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So no 9/11 Commission with independent subpoena power?

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: You know, we have not made final decisions, but my instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that, moving forward, we are doing the right thing.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was President Obama speaking four years ago to ABC. John Kiriakou, your response to what the presient said?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: I supported the president’s response. I remember that interview, and I thought, "OK, he’s right. There are wonderful, talented, hard-working men and women at the CIA who need to be protected." But at the same time, it’s one thing to look forward; it’s another thing to look forward just for the torturers. It’s just not fair. It’s not fair to the American people. If we’re going to—if we’re going to make prosecutions or initiate prosecutions, those prosecutions can’t just be against the people who blew the whistle on the torture or who opposed the torture. You know, we haven’t—we haven’t even investigated the torturers, as Jesselyn said. We haven’t initiated any actions against the people who conceived of the torture and implemented the policy, or against the man who destroyed evidence of the torture, or against the attorneys who used specious legal arguments to justify the torture. If we’re going to move forward, let’s move forward, but you can’t target one person or two people who blew the whistle.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou, you’ve also spoken about witnessing new Foreign Service officers being confirmed, Foreign Service officers who were previously with the CIA and participated in acts of torture. Could you explain what happened and explain its significance?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Yes. When I was a senior investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I was approached by a journalist who said that he had evidence that the CIA was misusing its cover agreement with the State Department to place people involved in the torture program under State Department cover so that their names could not be exposed in the press. And if those names were exposed in the press, the people giving the names would be subject to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. So, again, this was a violation of the CIA-State Department cover agreement. I sent a letter under Senator John Kerry—then-Senator John Kerry’s signature, asking the CIA for clarification. I got a response about six weeks later that was classified top-secret, so I was not permitted to see the response. I did not have a top-secret clearance at the time. And a colleague of mine told me that the letter essentially said, in very strongly worded language, to mind my own business.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to talk about John Brennan right now, President Obama’s nominee to become the next chief of the CIA. The news agency Reuters is reporting that Brennan had detailed information on the agency’s torture program while serving there under President George W. Bush. Official records apparently show Brennan received regular internal CIA updates about the progress of torture techniques, including waterboarding. It’s unclear if Brennan raised any objections at the time he was made aware. Brennan’s confirmation hearing will be February 7th. In 2006, he gave an interview with Frontline on PBS where he said it was right for the Bush administration to, quote, "take off the gloves" after the 9/11 attacks.

JOHN BRENNAN: The war, or the campaign against terrorism, is going to be a long one, and that the opposition, whether it be al-Qaeda or whether it be Iraq, doesn’t play by the Marquess of Queensbury rules, and therefore, you know, the U.S., in some areas, has to take off the gloves. And I think that’s entirely appropriate. I think we do have to take off the gloves in some areas, but within bounds, and at the right time, in the right way, and for the right reason, and with full understanding of what the consequences of that might be.

AMY GOODMAN: That was John Brennan in 2006. When President Obama was first elected in his first term, he wanted to—John Brennan to be his director of Central Intelligence. There was such an outcry in the human rights community that John Brennan pulled his name out. Now, four years later, President Obama has officially nominated John Brennan once again to head the CIA. Our guest, John Kiriakou, is about to go to jail, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, worked for the CIA, there while John Brennan was there. Can you respond to what John Brennan knew, when he knew it, and the fact that President Obama wants him to be head of the CIA?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Sure. Obviously I can’t read John Brennan’s mind, but I can tell you that at the time that the torture techniques were being implemented, John Brennan was President Bush’s director of the National Counterterrorist Center. He was also, a little earlier than that, the deputy executive director and then, I believe, executive director of the CIA. That’s the number three ranking position in the CIA. So, he would have had to have been intimately involved in—not necessarily in carrying out the torture techniques, but in the policy, the torture policy—either that or he had to be brain dead, because you can’t be in positions like that, director of the National Counterterrorist Center and executive director of the CIA, without knowing what the CIA’s torture policies are.

Now, I’m surprised, frankly, also, at the fact that there’s no outrage in the human rights community now that Mr. Brennan’s nomination has been made official. There was a great hue and cry in 2009 when he was initially floated for the position of CIA director. And I’m not sure why there’s a difference between four years ago and now. John Brennan certainly hasn’t changed.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou, I want to read a comment made by the judge at your sentencing hearing. Judge Leonie Brinkema sentenced you to 30 months in prison last Friday, saying, quote, "This case is not a case about a whistleblower. It’s a case about a man who betrayed a very solemn trust, and that is a trust to keep the integrity of his agency intact and specifically to protect the identity of co-workers. ... I think 30 months is, frankly, way too light, because the message has to be sent to every covert agent that when you leave the agency you can’t just start all of a sudden revealing the names of the people with whom you worked," the judge said. John Kiriakou, can you comment on that statement?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Sure. When Judge Brinkema accepted the plea deal in October, she called 30 months fair and appropriate. I can only think that with a courtroom packed full of journalists last Friday, she decided to seize the moment and make a statement that would be carried in the papers. I don’t know what changed between October and January, other than the fact that she and the prosecution had had several ex parte communications. What that means is the prosecutors were able to meet with the judge, related to my case, without the defense, my attorneys, being present. So we have no idea what it was that the prosecution told the judge. We were not allowed to defend ourselves. Indeed, Judge Brinkema denied 75 motions that we made asking for declassification of information so that I could present a defense. In August of 2012, after our motions had been denied, my attorneys and I walked out of the courtroom, and my attorney said, "We have no defense. She won’t let us say anything. She won’t let us defend you." And so, we were forced into plea negotiations. But again, I’m not sure why the judge changed her position between October and January; it was inexplicable to me.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what that’s like in the courtroom, when they invoke national security, that the prosecutor can come forward and speak privately with the judge without your defense attorneys being there.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Yeah, I had never heard of such a thing before. But in August, when we made our 75 motions, we thought that the judge would block off two days to hear the 75. In fact, there had been a conversation with the prosecution, and so she blocked off an hour to hear the 75 motions. So we knew we were in trouble. And then, at the very start of the hearing, the prosecutor got up and said that he was requesting a Rule 4 conversation. I didn’t know what this was. My attorneys objected and said, "If you don’t want the defendant to hear, at least allow us to hear so that we can represent his interests." And the judge said, "No, this is a national security case. I’m allowed an ex parte communication with the prosecutors." So the prosecutors went up to the bench. We could hear them whispering. They came back to their table, and the judge said, "All 75 motions are denied." And that was the end of it. We got up, and we walked out of court. And my attorneys said, "We have to negotiate a plea."

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Jesselyn—

JOHN KIRIAKOU: It was extremely disheartening.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Jesselyn Radack, I wanted to ask about the legal implications of this case and how it fits into the treatment of government whistleblowers under the Obama administration.

JESSELYN RADACK: Absolutely. To get to the point you just raised with John, I think the reason Judge Brinkema changed her opinion between October and last week is because the government submitted a secret statement that John was not allowed to see that played a large role in the sentencing hearing, but neither the public nor the defendant were allowed to see the statement, which is very Kafkaesque.

But in the grander scheme, the prosecution of John Kiriakou and the war on whistleblowers, using the heavy handed Espionage Act, by charging people who dare to tell the truth as being enemies of the state, sends a very chilling message. And Judge Brinkema herself acknowledged that a strong message had to be sent, that secrets must be kept. But apparently, that only applies to people who are trying to reveal government abuses and illegality, because all of the people in the White House and the CIA who revealed classified information and—of undercover identities to the makers of a Hollywood film, Zero Dark Thirty, have done so with impunity and with lavish praise. So—

AMY GOODMAN: Wait, can you say—can you say specifically what you’re talking about, Jesselyn Radack?

JESSELYN RADACK: Yes. Specifically, the White House and the CIA were very involved in the making of Zero Dark Thirty, which pretends to be some kind of neutral film that implies torture led to the capture of Osama bin Laden, which it absolutely did not. In that process, a high-level Defense Department official, Michael Vickers, revealed the identity of an undercover Special Operations Command officer, but was not held to account for that. And the CIA revealed numerous classified pieces of information, including sources and methods. So when—yeah?

AMY GOODMAN: Keep going.

JESSELYN RADACK: So when the United States talks about the sanctity of keeping secrets, and both the judge and multiple statements by United States officials discussed that, they are the biggest leakers of all. And they do so with impunity.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to talk about another whistleblower targeted by the Obama administration who has been former National Security Agency analyst. He’s Thomas Drake. He worked for the NSA for nearly seven years before blowing the whistle. Thomas Drake appeared on Democracy Now! last March.

THOMAS DRAKE: The critical thing that I discovered was not just the massive fraud, waste and abuse, but also the fact that NSA had chosen to ignore a 23-year legal regime, which had been established in 1978, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, with a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and which, at NSA, during the time that I was not only at NSA but also in the military flying on RC-135s overseas during the latter part of the Cold War, it was a contract, the one thing you did not do. It was the prime directive of NSA. It was the—the—First Amendment at NSA, which is, you do not spy on Americans—

AMY GOODMAN: And what did you find?

THOMAS DRAKE: —without a warrant. I found, much to my horror, that they had tossed out that legal regime, that it was the excuse of 9/11, which I was told was: Exigent conditions now prevailed, we essentially can do anything. We opened up Pandora’s box. We’re going to turn the United States of America into the equivalent of a foreign nation for the purpose of a—of dragnet, blanket electronic surveillance.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s former National Security Agency analyst Thomas Drake. Jesselyn Radack, he is one of your clients. What happened to him?

JESSELYN RADACK: Yes, I represented both Tom Drake and John Kiriakou. The government dropped all 10 felony counts against Tom Drake, and he pled guilty to a minor misdemeanor, the equivalent of a parking ticket. I find it appalling that the two men who revealed the biggest scandals of the Bush administration—namely warrantless wiretapping and torture—are the only two who have been criminally prosecuted for it, and not the people who secretly surveiled the communications of Americans, and not the people who were involved in the torture program, all of whom have been conferred immunity by either the president or by acts of Congress.

AMY GOODMAN: John Kiriakou, you’re now—we are now—the president is President Obama. Did you see a change between President Obama and his predecessor, President Bush? And also, when you were talking about John Brennan, do you think he should head the CIA? What message do think that sends? And what has changed in the last four years, when he withdrew his name for consideration?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: In 2010, when my book came out, I was giving a speech in Los Angeles, and a woman asked me a question about the difference between President Obama and President Bush. And I’ll never forget the question, because it was just so crazy. She said, "Can you explain the CIA’s position on the jihadization of American foreign policy under President Obama?" And I laughed, and I said, "Ma’am, with all due respect, President Obama’s foreign policy is an extension of President Bush’s foreign policy. If there’s any difference at all, President Obama is killing more people overseas than President Bush ever did." So, no, I don’t think there’s any difference at all between the Bush foreign policy and the Obama foreign policy, which I think really is a shame for us, because there was a wonderful opportunity to take a different path and to reclaim our position as a moral leader in the world. So I’m disappointed in that.

With regard to John Brennan, I’ve known John Brennan since 1990. I worked directly for John Brennan twice. I think that he is a terrible choice to lead the CIA. I think that it’s time for the CIA to move beyond the ugliness of the post-September 11th regime, and we need someone who is going to respect the Constitution and to not be bogged down by a legacy of torture. I think that President Obama’s appointment of John Brennan sends the wrong message to all Americans.

AMY GOODMAN: You worked with him, directly for him. Did Brennan receive regular internal CIA updates about the progress of torture techniques, including waterboarding, as Reuters is reporting?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: I worked for him when he was a—an analytic manager. It was before he really hit the big time under George Tenet. But again, I think that it’s impossible for him to not have gotten these briefings, for him to not have been intimately involved in the policy, by virtue of his senior positions, some of the senior-most positions in the CIA. It’s just impossible that he didn’t know what was going on.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou, you’ll shortly be going to prison. Do you know exactly when your prison sentence will begin? And how are you preparing for this? You’re the father of five children.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: I’m the father of five. I don’t know exactly when this will be. It will be sometime in the next four to six weeks. I’ll have to report to a prison somewhere. I don’t know where. It’s, frankly, very hard to prepare. You have to do things like arrange a power of attorney, arrange child care. I mean, there are so many things to do, it’s just overwhelming. My wife, thank God, is very strong and very tough and very supportive. And we are treating this like temporary duty overseas. It was not unusual for me to go overseas for many months at a time, sometimes as long as two years at a time, two-and-a-half years. So we’re treating this like an overseas deployment. I can call my children virtually every day. If I’m close enough, they can come and visit me. And I’m just hoping for the best.

AMY GOODMAN: How old are your kids, John?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: I have two sons from a first marriage who are 19 and 16, and then my wife and I have three children: an eight-year-old boy, a six-year-old girl and one-year-old boy.

AMY GOODMAN: And what do they understand?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Well, they know that I’ve been involved in a fight with the FBI for the last year. And I told them, "You know I’ve been fighting the FBI. And unfortunately, I lost. And so, because I lost, my punishment is I’m going to have to go away for a couple of years, and I’m going to try to teach bad guys how to get their high school diplomas. And when I’m all done with that, I’ll come home, and we’ll live as a family, and everything’s going to be OK again."

NERMEEN SHAIKH: John Kiriakou, quickly, before we conclude, what advice would you give to whistleblowers now, given what’s happened in your case?

JOHN KIRIAKOU: I made mistakes in my case. I would say, first, go through the chain of command, which I didn’t do, I should have done. I would say, if you get no satisfaction through your chain of command, go to the congressional oversight committees. But do not remain silent. If you see waste, fraud, abuse or illegality, shout it from the rooftops, whether it’s internally or to Congress.