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Ex-Officer for C.I.A. Sentenced to 30 Months in Leak Case

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The first Central Intelligence Agency officer to face prison for disclosing classified information, was sentenced on Friday to 30 months in prison by a judge at the federal courthouse here.

The judge, Leonie M. Brinkema, said that in approving the sentence, she would respect the terms of a plea agreement between the former C.I.A. agent, John C. Kiriakou, and prosecutors, but “I think 30 months is way too light.”

The judge said “this is not a case of a whistle-blower.” She went on to describe the damage that Mr. Kiriakou had created for the intelligence agency and an agent whose cover was disclosed by Mr. Kiriakou.

Before issuing the sentence she asked Mr. Kiriakou if he had anything to say. When he declined, Judge Brinkema, said, “Perhaps you have already spoken too much.”

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou leaves court in January.

The sentencing was the latest chapter in the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on government officials who disclose classified information to the press. Since 2009, the administration has charged five other current or former government officials with leaking classified information, more than all previous administrations combined.

In October, Mr. Kiriakou plead guilty to one charge of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, when he disclosed to a reporter the name of a former agency operative who had been involved in the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation of detainees. The plea was the first time someone had been successfully prosecuted under the law in 27 years.

Mr. Kiriakou, who had worked as a C.I.A. operative from 1990 to 2004, had played a significant role in some of the C.I.A.’s major achievements after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In March of 2002, he led a group of agency and Pakistani security officers in a raid that captured Abu Zubaydah, who was suspected of being a high-level facilitator for Al Qaeda.

In 2007, three years after he left the C.I.A., Mr. Kiriakou discussed in an interview on ABC News the suffocation technique that was used in the interrogations known as waterboarding. He said it was torture and should no longer be used by the United States, but he defended the C.I.A. for using it in the effort to prevent attacks.

After the ABC interview was broadcast, reporters contacted Mr. Kiriakou. In subsequent e-mails with a freelance writer, Mr. Kiriakou disclosed the name of one of his former colleagues, who was still under cover and had been a part of the interrogations.

The freelancer later passed the name to a researcher working for lawyers representing several Al Qaeda suspects being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who included the name in a sealed legal filing, angering government officials and kick-starting the federal investigation that ultimately ensnared Mr. Kiriakou. The name was not disclosed publicly at the time, but it appeared on an obscure Web site in October.

In January 2012, federal prosecutors indicted Mr. Kiriakou, accusing him of disclosing the identity of an agency analyst who had worked on the 2002 raid that led to Abu Zubaydah’s capture and interrogation. The prosecutors said Mr. Kiriakou had been a source for a New York Times story in 2008 written by Scott Shane that said a C.I.A. employee named Deuce Martinez had played a role in the interrogation. When Mr. John Kiriakou plead guilty last October, the charges stemming from that disclosure were dropped along with several others.

Prosecutors raised questions this week about Mr. Kiriakou’s contrition. In a filing, prosecutors cited a lengthy article by Mr. Shane published this month in The Times in which he quoted Mr. Kiriakou as saying that if he had known that the C.I.A. officer had still been under cover, he would not have disclosed his identity. The prosecutors said that Mr. Kiriakou’s intimation that the disclosure was an “accident or mistake” contradicted his plea that he had willfully disclosed the information.

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Posted by on January 25, 2013. Filed under NY News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.