CIA Torture Whistleblower Gets Royal Prison Send-off

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CIA whistleblower Kiriakou gets posh send-off to prison
by David Montgomery
Washington Post
February 21, 2013

kiriakou-200 John Kiriakou stood in the ninth-floor banquet hall of the Hay-Adams hotel Thursday night and took in the spectacular view of the White House and the Washington Monument. He recalled briefing two presidents during his career with the CIA. "It's ironic," he said, spreading his arms as if to embrace the tableau. "This really is the reason I came to Washington 30 years ago in the first place."

But next Thursday he will check into the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pa., to begin a 30-month sentence for divulging information that prosecutors said could harm his country.

Kiriakou, 48, seemed unbowed and almost content at the prospect of prison as he basked in the well wishes of about 100 supporters, who gathered for a posh send-off at the luxury hotel. The guests wore orange jumpsuits and other mock prison garb and serenaded Kiriakou with a reworked version of the protest anthem "Have You Been to Jail for Justice?"

"I'm proud of my career," said Kiriakou, who lives in Arlington County. "I still love the CIA - crazy as that may sound. ."‰."‰. I wear my conviction as a badge of honor."

Kiriakou, who left the CIA in 2004, stepped into the limelight a few years later to confirm and describe in detail the harsh interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, that he said agency operatives employed. He was charged with several counts related to sharing sensitive information with reporters and pleaded guilty to a single count of disclosing a covert operative's name. He was sentenced last month.

"My case was about torture," he said. "The CIA never forgave me for exposing the torture program and saying it was U.S. government policy."

The $20,000 farewell bash - open bar for two hours - was underwritten by Oakland, Calif.-based activist and heiress Naomi Pitcairn and co-hosted by Code Pink, the theatrical peace group.

"I don't think any of my Republican ancestors would have stood for torture," said Pitcairn, whose great-grandfather co-founded Pittsburgh Plate Glass in 1883. "Civilized people do not behave that way, and so we are honoring him for his civilized behavior in a very civilized location."

The guests included left-wing luminaries, whistleblowers and protesters - from Dennis Roberts, one of the attorneys for the Chicago Eight, to retired Air Force Col. Morris "Moe" Davis, the former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, who resigned in 2007 because, as he said at the party, "I objected to the use of evidence obtained by torture."

Read the rest of this article here.

Read more about this protest from the Brisbane Times here.