A week after his release from prison, CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou appeared on Democracy Now! and spoke with Amy Goodman about whistleblowing, CIA torture and US prisons. The CIA whistleblower spoke favorably of Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on domestic surveillance by the NSA.
I think Ed Snowden is a national hero. I think Ed Snowden gave us information on government illegality that we otherwise would never have had. I regret that the federal government has revoked his passport and has caused him to be stuck in Russia, but I think that he did a very courageous thing. I’m not sure I would have released all of the information that he released, because, in some cases, I want NSA to be spying on foreign governments and foreign leaders. That’s what NSA does; that’s what they’re supposed to do. I want the U.S. government to have a leg up, for example, in trade negotiations or defense contracting or whatever it is. But in terms of the illegality that Ed Snowden revealed, I think he did a great national service.
Kiriakou added that Snowden should not “under any circumstances” return to the United States.
I do not believe that he will get a fair trial in the United States, especially in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he’s being charged or where he has been charged. I think the deck is stacked against him, as it is against any whistleblower, and if the government has its way, Ed Snowden will never see the light of day.
As evidence, Kiriakou cited his own encounters with the legal system.
Anytime we tried to introduce evidence of whistleblowing, it was denied; of government wrongdoing, denied; my own personal history in the CIA, where I won 12 exceptional performance awards, the Meritorious Honor Award, the Counterterrorism Service Medal, not admissible. And that’s what has led me to believe that there’s no way Ed Snowden is going to get a fair trial, and he shouldn’t come back to Virginia.
Despite his ordeal, Kiriakou said, “I would do it all over again.”