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Only the Whistleblower Goes to Prison

by Abby Zimet

Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison for revealing in 2007 interviews that that Abu Zubaydah and other terrorism suspects were being waterboarded, making him the first CIA insider to confirm reports of torture during interrogation. He later spoke out forcefully against what he had witnessed: "There are things we should not do...One of them, I now firmly believe, is torture." Kiriakou, who did not take part in any torture, thus becomes the only former U.S. official to go to jail for torture. From an interview:

"I don’t think I am overstating this when I say I feel like we’re entering a second McCarthy era where the Justice Department uses the law as a fist or as a hammer not just to try and convict people but to ruin them personally and professionally because they don’t like where they stand on different issues....I am proud that I stood up to our government. I stood up for what I believed was right, conviction or no conviction. I mean they can convict anybody of anything if they put their minds to it, but I wear this as a badge of honor. I am not a criminal. I am a whistleblower. The thing that I blew the whistle on is now the law of the land."

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