HALC Calls for Commutation of Ex-CIA John Kiriakou’s Sentence

John KyriakouThe 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


  1. This guy is a disgrace to all Americans of Greek heritage and to all Americans for that matter. He betrayed his colleges and his country for political reasons . . . to be able to hit the Bush Administration over the head with the “torture” debate. Many people don’t know that he was an operative for Senator John Kerry. The water boarding was done on only the three worst terrorists who were hell bent on killing Americans. The truth is that multiple terrorist attacks were thwarted thanks to water boarding, a procedure that lasts 10 to 40 seconds and does no permanent damage. The procedure absolutely led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden despite Kiriakou’s claims to the contrary, according to multiple CIA sources. Are we to believe him and assume everyone else is a liar? Please! All of those who administer water boarding have had it done to themselves and furthermore, Navy Seals have it done to them. Its a false controversy fabricated by Kiriakou. He is a snake, not to be trusted. With his “whistle blowing,” of all media outlets to leak to, he leaked classified information to the NY Times, a well known critic of the Bush Administration, and in doing so he exposed 2 CIA Agents and their families to terrorists. He claims that he was worried about the reputation of the US but he wasn’t worried about the lives of his colleges? Would he rather let terrorist plots go undetected than put a terrorist through some discomfort so a potential of millions of US Citizen lives can be saved? Thousands of lives? 10 lives? 1 life? It makes no sense. He is a traitor through and through with the patriotism of Benedict Arnold. In my opinion, he is a traitor, a liar and a political hack. He wants to be known has a “whistle blower” and not a traitor. Very convenient. . . . and Charles Manson wants to be known as a revolutionary. We should not support a person like this and certainly not hold him up as a proud example of an American of Greek Heritage.

  2. “Brutal interrogation?” These terrorists want to kill us!!! They were behind 9-11!!! They killed 3000 American Citizens and wish they killed more!! We are worried about being brutal to them? They would behead our children at a moments notice!! They are animals!! We squirted a little water up their nose and slapped them with an open hand. That’s brutal? No, that’s not brutal . . . what I would do to them is brutal.


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