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Ex-CIA Officer Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison In Leaks Case

posted 25 Jan 2013, 12:41 by Mpelembe   [ updated 25 Jan 2013, 12:43 ]

Former Central Intelligence Agency officer John Kiriakou is sentenced to 30 months in prison for blowing a CIA agent's cover.

 ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIAUNITED STATES (JANUARY 25, 2013) (NBC) - Former Central Intelligence Agency officer John Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison Friday (January 25) for blowing a CIA agent's cover.

The plea deal marks the first time in 27 years that someone has been sentenced to prison for disclosing a covert CIA agent's name.

Kiriakou was sentenced in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He had pleaded guilty in October to one count of disclosing an agent's identity.

"I would like to thanks the dozens of former and active duty CIA officers and FBI and assistant US attorneys who rallied to my side, although most of them had to do so privately. I thank them for their cards, their mails, their donations to my defense fund. It was their friendship and the support of my friends and family that really got me through this," Kiriakou told reporters outside the courthouse following his sentencing.

Kiriakou's prison term will be followed by three years of supervised release, a Justice Department spokesman said.

"Today's sentence should be a reminder to every individual who works for the government, who comes into the processions of closely held sensitive information regarding the national defense or the identity of a covert agent that it is critical that that information remain secure and not spill out into the public domain or be shared with others who don't have authorized access to it," Neil MacBride, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said.

Kiriakou's case stems back to 2008 when Kiriakou revealed the agent's name in an email to a reporter. He had repeatedly helped journalists with information on the CIA's interrogation technique of waterboarding and its interrogation of al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah.

Kiriakou retired from the CIA in 2004. By 2007, he was speaking publicly about waterboarding and his participation in Zubaydah's interrogation.

Prosecutors told reporters outside the courthouse that leaks of sort Kiriakou was charged with go to the heart of the nation's intelligence service.

"The crime that he was convicted of, the Intelligence Identity Protection Act, does not apply to all U.S. government employees. It doesn't apply to third parties who may receive classified information and turn it on, pass t on, to other people. It applies to a very narrow subset of individuals who have authorized access to the most important secrets this country has," MacBride said.

Kiriakou's guilty plea closes one of six prosecutions the Obama administration has pursued against alleged leakers of classified information.