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Politics

Kiriakou Looks Forward to Freedom

 

NEW YORK – John Kiriakou is counting the days to the end of his sentence at the Federal Correction Facility in Loretto, PA. His 30 month prison term ends on May 1, but he hopes to return to the world and the family he misses sooner than that.

He was sent to prison for violating Intelligence Identities Protection Act, but in letter he sent to supporters in May, 2014, he said “In truth, this is my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program and for telling the public that torture was official U.S. government policy.”

The issue regained national attention in December 2014 when a Senate Intelligence Committee report “declared that the CIA’s methods, later prohibited, violated American values and produced little or no useful intelligence,” the New York Times reported.

Before he retired this month, Ted Moran, who was Kiriakou’s Congressman and worked hard in his behalf, entered this statement into the Congressional Record: “John Kiriakou is an American hero. A 15-year CIA veteran, he was decorated and recognized more than a dozen times for his outstanding work in the always-demanding intelligence world.”

On February 3 he will be sent to a halfway house in Washington, DC. His wife, Heather, told TNH, “the best scenario is that John shows up, they have an orientation that day and he checks off the boxes that he has a– a family, a job a home – then they will let him go home,” to serve out the remainder of his sentence under ‘home consignment’ – house arrest.

The children are all excited. Together they went to pick out Kiriakou’s clothes and Heather said “they have a whole list of plans they want to do with dad from day one through the rest of the year. They talk about it a lot every day. There is a lot of chatter in the household,” she said.

Kiriakou’s oldest children, by his first marriage, are Chris, 21, and Constantine, 19. His children with Heather are Max 10, Kate, eight and Charli, three.

Essentially, Charlie will be meeting his father for the first time.

Nothing came of the efforts to get prison officials to adhere to their original agreement for him to be transferred to a halfway earlier in his prison term. “They ignored Congressman Moran,” Heather said.

After the release of the torture report, Moran and others renewed their efforts to not only obtain his immediate release but for a pardon.

“The government says they want to move on so they won’t prosecute anyone who actually committed crimes,” in the context of the interrogation methods, “but how about pardoning the guy who was a critic of the program,” she said.

The new Congressman is Democrat Don Beyer. Kiriakou’s supporters are in the process of reaching out to him and Heather urges people in the district to do the same.

There is a possibility that the orientation be delayed for a few days, “but even after the orientation they might make him stay, for whatever reason. We really don’t know.”

Heather explained the fuzzy conditions of home consignment. “He must have a stable household and family that can be responsible for him,” and she said he would be able to go to work, doctor’s offices and Church.

He will have a probation officer who will probably be in touch will him daily, at least at the start.

It’s frustrating, but “We’re getting there,” she said.

Once he gets home, “first and foremost he has to re-bond with his family. So much has happened in our lives in the last two years,” including the recent passing of her mother.

“His initial focus will be resuming the life of father and husband, after that he will branch out to rebuild his professional life,” she said.

Initially he will be doing business development for Dr. Athan Georgiades in Pittsburgh, during which he can explore what kind of consulting work and public speaking he can do.

“He is accepting speaking invitations from universities, inside and outside the U.S. Ethics and international affairs will be the focus” but added “I don’t think he will go on TV anytime soon.”

Kiriakou will be cautious, but he will continue writing books. “I am sure he will have a follow-up to his book, The Reluctant Spy, with his prison history and his thoughts about the national security state.”

Kiriakou is interested in becoming an adjunct instructor at a college or think tank focusing on the Middle East, his general area of expertise.

Heather’s own work in the defense industry is going well, but she looks forward to having Kiriakou back to help with the children so she can travel for her job. She also hopes they can get to Greece soon.

Heather is gratified that the documentary “Silenced,” which tells the story of whistleblowers like Kiriakou, is being shown on TV around Europe and there has been an overwhelming positive response. “John is getting hundreds of letters from various European countries, especially Greece and France.”

She appreciates the people who have written to, prayed for and visited her husband. On January 9 Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh met with him in Loretto.

Ironically, the F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors have recommended bringing felony charges against former CIA Director David H. Petraeus, who allegedly provided classified information to a lover during his tenure.

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