Dear Mr. Saros:
Thank you for your letter.
If it was unclear how John Kiriakou ended up in prison, it should be noted that on October 22, 2012, he pleaded guilty to disclosing the identity of a fellow CIA officer and was the first CIA officer to be convicted for passing classified information to a reporter, even though the reporter did not publish the name of the operative. In our interview, Kiriakou noted that he took the plea deal to put an end to the terrible stress on his family and finances that a long, drawn-out trial would put them through. Further details can be found in Kiriakou’s books.
I would like to point out that the text of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1984 and the United States signed the international peace treaty on April 18, 1988 and ratified it on October 21, 1994. Following ratification by the 20th state party, the Convention came into force on June 26, 1987. June 26 is now recognized as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, in honor of the Convention. Since 1987, the absolute prohibition against torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment has become accepted as a principle of customary international law, so to say that waterboarding was “lawful” is not really true. Torture is not lawful. It has been known since ancient times to elicit false confessions and false information since under torture a person will say anything to make the torture stop.
You don’t win the hearts and minds of people through torture. You only create more terrorists. Violence only begets violence. As it says in the Holy Bible, “’Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.’” Matthew 26:52.
TNH Assistant Executive Editor
Why CIA’s Kiriakou Was Sent to Prison
To the Editor:
Eleni Sakellis’ article “Kiriakou Talks to TNH about Latest Book”(May 27) states that John Kiriakou was sent to prison for “exposing the CIA’s use of torture on Al-Qaeda prisoners.” According to broadcastsand newspaper articles at that time, it was stated that Kiriakou was sent to prison because he unmasked a living and current fellow CIA Operative, which is a very big no-no in clandestine operations.
Waterboardingdone at that time was lawful; the CIA was doing what they were authorized to do. Later, waterboarding became unlawful, as it is today. There are people who want waterboarding to be reinstated because without it, we would not have killed Osama bin Laden.
These are difficult times for John Kiriakou and his family, but we need to call a spade a spade and not a shovel if he is to get the respect that he deserves.