January 24, 2012- A former Central Intelligence Officer was charged Monday by the Justice Department for disclosing information that was classified to journalists. The information contained details about the CIA’s capture and interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, who at the time was thought to be a member of Al Qaeda.
John Kiriakou, the former officer, was accused by the FBI of releasing the identity of the CIA analyst who helped in the operation in 2002 that located and interrogated Zubaydah. Eric Holder Jr., the U.S. Attorney General, said, “Keeping classified information safe, including names and identities of officers in the CIA who are involved in operations of a sensitive nature is critical.” He added, “It keeps our officers safe and allows them to continue to protect the national security.”
Kiriakou appeared in federal court on Monday and was then released on a bond of $250,000. He was the team leader of the group that captured Zubaydah. Kiriakou became known to the public following his 2007 ABC News interview where he portrayed the technique known as waterboarding as torture, saying it was necessary.
This is the second case with the last 12 months in which the Justice Department has charged a former officer of the CIA for disclosing information that was classified to the press. Former CIA employee, Jeffrey Sterling, was charged for leaking information to a New York Times reporter, who then used the information in a book he authored.