ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A 14-year CIA veteran was sentenced to more than 2 years in prison Fridayfor leaking a covert officer's identity to a reporter.
The 21/2-year sentence for John Kiriakou, 48, of Arlington had been negotiated in advance as part of a plea bargain he struck with federal prosecutors last year for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. No one had been convicted under the law since 1985, when a former CIA clerk received 2 years in prison for divulging classified information about operations in Ghana to an agent from that country with whom she had been romantically involved.
At yesterday's sentencing hearing, though, U.S. District Judge Leone Brinkema made clear she would have sentenced Kiriakou to far more than 30 months if she had the discretion.
"I think 30 months is, frankly, way too light," Brinkema said. "This case is not a case about a whistle-blower. It's a case about a person who betrayed a very solemn trust."
Absent the plea deal, federal sentencing guidelines would have called for a prison term of at least 8 years, which Brinkema said she would have imposed. She said she understood the government's desire to secure a plea deal, given the difficulties in holding a public trial for national security cases that invariably delve into classified evidence.
Kiriakou, whose supporters have portrayed him as an anti-torture whistle-blower being persecuted for exposing secrets about CIA torture, chose not to speak at yesterday's hearing.
Prosecutors said Kiriakou's claim that he was acting as a whistle-blower was laughable, given that the first public statements he made largely defended the CIA's use of waterboarding. -- AP