The Hellenic American Leadership Council became the first Greek organization in the country this week to call for the commutation of CIA whistle-blower John Kiriakou’s sentence for a single violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA). HALC has activated its coast-to-coast network of citizen advocates to lobby President Barack Obama to commute Kiriakou’s 30-month sentence, urging supporters to sign a petition that will be hand-delivered to the White House.
Kiriakou is a highly-decorated former CIA officer who made headlines in 2007 when he became the first CIA official to call waterboarding “torture” during a national interview. Following that interview, in response to a reporter’s request for information, Kiriakou disclosed the name of a former colleague who he believed had retired. The name of that colleague was never made public by the reporter.
The federal government brought a slew of charges against Kiriakou for actions. In order to be free to see his five children grow up, Kiriakou recently pled guilty to a single count of violating the IIPA. He is only the second person in U.S. history to be convicted under that law.
The New York Times has noted that Kiriakou’s plea came “less than two months after the Justice Department announced that it would not charge Central Intelligence Agency officials who participated in the brutal interrogation of detainees during the Bush administration.”
HALC’s Executive Director Endy Zemenides has called on the Greek diaspora to take action: “John’s lifetime of service to this country weighs heavily in favor of commuting his sentence. At a time when many were trying to sweep allegations of torture under the rug, John stood up and took the truth to the American people.
A commutation of John Kiriakou’s sentence would not absolve him, but would acknowledge his guilty plea while recognizing the role he played in changing America’s debate on torture. HALC encourages every Greek American community to sign onto the petition.”
Journalist Dan Froomkin, who has called for the commutation of Kiriakou’s sentence, points out that Kiriakou “was the first person within the CIA to confirm that the ‘enhanced interrogation’ was being managed, action by action, from Washington, through constant cable traffic.”
In addition to Froomkin, several high-profile figures have already called for a commutation, including Bruce Fein, Ralph Nader, and Joan Claybrook. In their letter to President Obama, they emphasized that “Mr. Kiriakou’s disclosure was never made publicly available, and occasioned no harm to the United States.
Indeed, it assisted in ending waterboarding, the crime of torture.” Daniel Ellsberg, famous for his disclosure of information about the Vietnam War to The New York Times, has said that “the Kiriakou indictment for leaking [the identities of a CIA officer involved in a torture program] is particularly disgusting in the context of zero indictments for actually torturing, or for directing torture, or for writing spurious legal justifications for it.”
The petition can be signed at: http://hellenicleaders.com/Kiriakou