Steven Aftergood, at Secrecy News, reports that Rep. James Moran (D-Virginia) called upon President Obama last week to pardon imprisoned CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou. Moran made the appeal through a statement recorded in the Congressional Record for November 17.
Kiriakou, who exposed torture as White House policy, is “an American Hero,” said the congressman, a CIA veteran “decorated and recognized more than a dozen times for his outstanding work” over a 15-year career.Aftergood writes that Kiriakou “would not normally be eligible for such a pardon until at least 5 years after his impending release from prison,” but a precedent exists in President Clinton’s pardon of Samuel Loring Morison, a Navy civilian employee who passed photographs to Jane’s Defence Weekly.
Details of the Morison’s trial on charges of violating the Espionage Act are provided in a 1986 review by Roland S. Inlow, a retired senior CIA official who testified for the defense.
[Congressional Record Volume 160, Number 140 (Monday, November 17, 2014)] [Extensions of Remarks] [Page E1601] PRESIDENTIAL PARDON FOR JOHN KIRIAKOU ______ HON. JAMES P. MORAN of Virginia in the House of Representatives Monday, November 17, 2014 Mr. MORAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to ask for a Presidential pardon for John Kiriakou. Mr. Kiriakou is an American hero. A 15 year CIA veteran, he was decorated and recognized more than a dozen times for his outstanding work in the always-demanding intelligence world, served in dangerous Middle East posts and helped lead the team in Pakistan that captured our first high value Al Qaeda target during the biggest coordinated operation in Agency counter-terrorism history. John Kiriakou is also a devoted family man to his wife and five children, a church-going member of the Greek-American community, a best-selling author and a serious-minded former Congressional foreign policy aide. John Kiriakou is a whistleblower, as well. The first American intelligence officer to officially and on-record reveal that the U.S. was in the torture business as a matter of White House policy under President Bush. In confirming what the American media and policymakers were hearing whispered--that waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques were a matter of standard military and intelligence procedures--he helped begin an intense and overdue debate over whether torture violated international law, tarnished our higher American principles and undermined the critical need for reliable, actionable information. And John Kiriakou is a convicted felon, serving a 2\1/2\ year plea bargained sentence in a Pennsylvania federal prison. The charge against him is violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, whereby John answered a question from a U.S. reporter who was duplicitously fronting for lawyers defending Al Qaeda prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay and in the process unintentionally confirmed the classified identity of a CIA colleague. A colleague who, by the way, was being erroneously labeled as an enhanced interrogation techniques torturer. All four of these realities about John are intertwined. He is not a spy nor a turncoat, he did not sell secrets to an enemy or act to hurt U.S. national security. But John did shine a critical spotlight on a CIA practice that many wanted kept in the shadows and he did challenge the authority of those who authorized, oversaw, and encouraged the use of waterboarding and other acts of torture. And he did this with the moral authority of someone who served inside the intelligence world, refused an invitation to be trained in waterboarding and other like methods, knew and loved the rank-and-file men and women who sacrifice family life, safety, and prosperity for the mission of gathering and assessing secrets that might threaten American interests and lives. The real issue here is the extremely selective prosecution of John and the ongoing efforts to intimidate him from talking about our intelligence community's misfires. Even former CIA Director Leon Panetta now concedes he accidentally revealed classified information to the writer of Zero Dark Thirty, but faces no legal ramifications. Jose Rodriguez, the CIA's former head of the Clandestine Service, admits to deciding without any legal authorization to erase videotapes of torture sessions so they could never be used in U.S. courts, but has never been forced to answer for this destruction of evidence. Whatever John's misdeeds--and he admits that answering that reporter's questions was ill-advised and naive--he has more than paid for them. After fifteen years of service to his country, the personal risks and costs of a life in the intelligence world, the legal double- standard applied, and now two years in prison John Kiriakou deserves a Presidential pardon so his record can be cleared, just as this country is trying to heal from a dark chapter in its history. # # #