(Politico) — A former CIA officer was charged Monday with disclosing the identity of a covert CIA officer and with telling journalists the name an agency officer involved with the interrogation of alleged Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah.
The Justice Department charged that John Kiriakou, 47, who worked as a CIA officer from 1990 to 2004, revealed the information to journalists and that one reporter passed some of the secrets onto attorneys representing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
Kiriakou’s case is the sixth leak-related criminal prosecution brought since President Barack Obama took office, a figure that exceeds the number of such cases in all previous administrations combined.
“Safeguarding classified information, including the identities of CIA officers involved in sensitive operations, is critical to keeping our intelligence officers safe and protecting our national security,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “Today’s charges reinforce the Justice Department’s commitment to hold accountable anyone who would violate the solemn duty not to disclose such sensitive information.”
CIA Director David Petraeus said Monday that “CIA fully supported the investigation from the beginning and will continue to do so.”
Petraeus also reminded CIA personnel of their duty to keep secret matters secret.
Ultimately, “the investigative team concluded that no laws were broken by the defense team,” the complaint says. It adds that defense attorneys never told the terror suspects the names of those in the photos.
However, the investigation — assigned to U.S. Attorney in Chicago Patrick Fitzgerald to avoid conflicts with Justice Department lawyers working on prosecuting Guantanamo pirsoners — focused on government employees who might have leaked the identities of the officers.
Kiriakou worked for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as a Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigator from March 2009 to April 2011, according to Senate records.