The One Person Who Went to Prison Over Torture

The One Person Who Went to Prison Over Torture December 10, 2014

We have known for years that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet and other high-ranking Bush administration officials ordered and covered up torture and not one of them has been held accountable despite our having signed a treaty requiring us to prosecute. But one man has actually been sent to prison over this — for blowing the whistle on the torture.

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou is the only CIA employee connected to its interrogation program to go to prison. But he was prosecuted for providing information to reporters, not for anything connected to waterboarding or other actions that today’s Senate Intelligence Committee report calls “torture.”

Kiriakou was the first person with direct knowledge of the CIA interrogation program to publicly reveal its existence, in an interview with ABC News in 2007. He is now serving a nearly-three-year prison sentence for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, but he says that’s only what the government wants people to believe.

“In truth, this is my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program and for telling the public that torture was official U.S. government policy,” Kiriakou said in a letter last May from a prison in Loretto, Penn. “But that’s a different story.”

Remember how Obama kept telling us that we shouldn’t prosecute anyone for torture because we have to look forward, not back? Funny how that only applied to those who carried out torture, not those who revealed the crimes that took place.


Browse Our Archives