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CIA whisteblower John Kiriakou as depicted in artist Robert Shetterly's "Americans Who Tell the Truth" series.  (Credit: Robert Shetterly)

CIA Torture Whistleblower: 'Quest for Peace Must Be Part of Election'

"Our country is in crisis," John Kiriakou says

Andrea Germanos

The CIA agent who was jailed for blowing the whistle on the United States' illegal torture program has made a statement about what the nation's electorate must demand from White House hopefuls this election season.

The whistleblower, John Kiriakou, was sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2013 after pleading guilty to releasing the name of an officer implicated in a CIA torture program to the media and violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

"Our country is in crisis, whether it is because of our apparently seamless escalation into a permanent wartime economy, our inability to wage peace in the Middle East and South Asia, or our national compulsion to prosecute and humiliate national security whistleblowers," he said in a statement. 

"The quest for peace must be a part of our presidential election. Instead of arguing which candidate would be more likely to use drones, more likely to bomb our enemies, real or perceived, or more likely to use the stick, rather than the carrot, we must demand that those candidates commit themselves to the pursuit of peace both here and abroad.

"Without peace, we will continue down the long road toward anarchy and hatred," he added. 

Kiriakou made the statement ahead of receiving on Sunday the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) award.

SAAII said in a statement that the whistleblower "was the first U.S. government official to confirm (during a national news interview in December 2007) that waterboarding—which he described as torture—was used to interrogate al Qaeda prisoners. Kiriakou also stated that he found U.S. 'enhanced interrogation techniques' immoral, and that Americans are 'better than that.'"

Kiriakou has previously said that "the entire torture program was approved by the president himself," and that he doubts the U.S. government "would ever have the guts to charge someone at the level of a Dick Cheney or of a CIA director ... with crimes against humanity."


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