…that life is fair or that the United States of America’s justice system maintains any semblance of integrity…let’s consider the case of John Kiriakou.
Kiriakou is the former CIA analyst/case officer sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for…well…whistleblowing. He wrongly disclosed the name of a CIA agent to a reporter (the name was NEVER relseased) in the context of expressing his concerns that the CIA and the Bush Administration was conducting an illegal torture program…waterboarding.
You can parse this a couple ways…yes, he broke the law, he admits this. There was no negative consequence, no threat incurred by his release of the agent’s name. The threat he incurred, the hornet’s nest he unleashed, was the result of being an American employee of a federal agency who had the guts to call bullshit on a policy that ran counter to everything we stand for as a country…torture.
The politics of torture can be debated another day. The bottom line is that it is immoral at best and illegal at worst…by our own friggin’ standards it’s illegal. Kiriakou calls this out and he is imprisoned. NONE of the spymasters or Administration/Justice Department officials have been indicted for this crime. Not one. None.
Having spent a career as a public servant in a government agency, I am acutely familiar with how difficult it is to break the culture of silence inherent in these organizations. Kiriakou did so at tremendous personal and professional risk.
He now sits in prison. Not the federal facility (a low security “camp” that prosecutors and his defense team and the judge agreed upon) but a “prison”.
If you have retained a shred of faith in the justice system and concepts of propriety and fairness to now…consider our prison industrial complex. Mr. Kiriakou has offered up a fascinating narrative of his experience thus far. It is rife with the cultural and racial realities of prison life and most presciently, exposes the culture of dehumanization so common in these facilities. The prisoners are human beings folks…to allow their dehumanization while we turn a blind eye to it inflicts much more injury to our national consciousness than theirs individually. Disagree? Why don’t we just line them up and shoot them then…as so brilliantly stated in Eugene Jarecki’s masterful film, “The House I Live In” we are witnessing “the Holocaust in slow motion”.
We are better than this.
We have imprisoned the guy that tries to do the right thing and thrown him into a cesspool of penal dysfunction.
And the men and women who committed the original crime rest comfortably in the vacancy of their souls.
I can hear the clinking of the ice in their cocktail glasses now…