NEW YORK – Amid an uproar in Washington, DC over allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) violated computers of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that oversees its operations, the calls of currently incarcerated ex-CIA operative John Kiriakou and his supporters to alleviate the conditions of his imprisonment for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act are falling on deaf ears.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the CIA this week of inappropriately searching the committee’s computers as the panel investigated the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, including its use of waterboarding.
Kiriakou is “100 percent positive” that his prison sentence is payback for his public statements to ABC News in 2007 about the government’s use of waterboarding.
Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia is also angry about the CIA’s monitoring of Senate computers, and connected that situation with Kiriakou’s case. “What the staff was doing was trying to determine what went on with regard to illegal, excessive torture,” he said.
Moran also believes Kiriakou’s treatment constitutes “retribution for John speaking out on principle. He spoke to The National Herald about his efforts in behalf of Kiriakou and expressed frustration over the “bureaucratic” responses he has received to his letters to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
HOW TO HELP KIRIAKOU
The Congressman told TNH that citizens “should write to their members of Congress. The more pressure the BOP and the Department of Justice and the Agency (CIA) gets, the more likely they are to do the right thing.” Sample letters and information can be found on firedoglake.com.
Kiriakou, who is currently confined to the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto in Western Pennsylvania, is seeking to be transferred to a halfway house to be near his family, his wife and five children, nine months prior to the end of his prison term on May 1, 2015.
Moran made that request to the BOP and the Loretto warden wrote him back last year that “in accordance with written policy and procedure, inmate Kiriakou will be reviewed for residential re-entry placements 17-19 months prior to his projected release date.”
When Moran did not receive follow up information on the review, he sent another letter to officials on February 3. The warden wrote back on February 12 that “after considering all the relevant factors, the unit team believes that the recommended placement of 150 to 180 days is sufficient…”
The warden continued, “Inmate Kiriakou’s situation is regrettable, however, he is not unlike many other inmates whose criminal behavior has resulted in their separation from loved ones.”
On the other hand, the letter said “the unit team requested inmate Kiriakou is afforded the opportunity to participate in home confinement immediately upon his eligibility.”
Kiriakou, however, has been informed by prison officials that he will receive only 86 days in a halfway house, not five to six months, which also limits his home confinement eligibility.
He was recently informed that on February 3, 2015 he will be transferred to a halfway house in Southeast Washington, DC.
Kiriakou will be able to leave there for work and doctor’s appointments and his family will receive one hour visiting time there per week, but TNH has been informed that it is one of Washington’s most dangerous neighborhoods and a mile-long walk from the Anacostia Metro station.
Inmates reportedly prefer federal prison to the run-down Anacostia house that is ironically named “Hope Village.”
DOCUMENTARY TELLS KIRIAKOU’S STORY
Even though the government is ignoring him, Kiriakou, who was lauded during his CIA tenure for his achievements, including leading the team that captured al-Qaeda’s high-level operative Abu Zubaydah, is not forgotten by friends, fellow citizens and socially conscious artists.
This year’s Tribeca Film Festival that runs in New York April 16-27 will feature the documentary Silenced, which is directed by James Spione. Kiriakou’s wife, Heather, will be present and will make a statement.
The Festival website notes that “following the trial of the ex-CIA agent who exposed the use of torture and the stories of three other high-profile Federal whistleblowers, Silenced reveals the escalating crackdown of those who challenge U.S. national security policy, the devastating personal costs paid, and the dissolution of civil liberties in post 9/11 America.”