An ex-CIA officer was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Friday for leaking classified information about a colleague’s identity to the media.
John Kiriakou, 48, had pleaded guilty to one count of “intentionally revealing information identifying a covert agent,” who had been involved in the brutal interrogation of detainees during the Bush administration, Bloomberg reported.
It is the first time someone has been successfully prosecuted under the Intelligence Identities Act in 27 years.
Defense lawyers had claimed their client was a whistleblower – an argument that was rejected by US District Judge Leonie Brinkema, the BBC reported.
“This case is not a case about a whistleblower, this is a case about a man who betrayed a solemn trust,” Brinkema was quoted as saying.
“I think 30 months is frankly way too light.” The sentence was the result of a plea agreement.
According to the New York Times, Kiriakou “played a significant role in some of the CIA's major achievements" after the September 11 terrorist attacks, such as leading an operation to capture suspected Al Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah.
After leaving the CIA in 2004, Kiriakou publicly acknowledged the agency’s use of waterboarding during interrogations, describing how Zubaydah was subjected to the technique widely viewed as torture.
During subsequent correspondence with a freelance journalist, he revealed the name of one of his former colleagues who had been involved in the interrogations.
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