Ex-CIA officer John C. Kiriakou became the first person to be sentenced to prison for issues related to torture at Guantanamo Bay on Friday– because he talked about, but did not participate in, “enhanced interrogation” techniques. Kiriakou pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act in October for revealing the name of a former operative involved the Bush era’s brutal interrogation of detainees at Guantanamo to a reporter.
Kiriakou worked as a CIA operative for more than two decades and led a March 2002 raid that captured high-ranking Al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah. He was also a vocal torture opponent who revealed his knowledge of U.S. enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, in an ABC interview in 2007. A confidential 2004 International Committee of the Red Cross report stated that the intentional physical and psychological harm done to detainees at Guantanamo was “tantamount to torture.” While several soldiers involved in the Abu Graib prison scandal were prosecuted and sentenced, the conviction of the only officer court-martialed was thrown out in 2008, and no one has ever been prosecuted for abuse at Guantanamo Bay. Leonie M. Brinkema, the judge who sentenced Kiriakou called his punishment “way too light.”