For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Marsha Zeesman, (212) 549-2666;

ACLU Attorneys Cleared of Any Wrongdoing in Guantánamo Photograph Investigation

Former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, Charged With Disclosing Classified Information to Journalists

NEW YORK - In a Criminal Complaint filed earlier today by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) in the Northern District of Virginia, former CIA officer John Kiriakou was charged with disclosing classified information to journalists and lying to the CIA’s Publications Review Board. The investigation also examined the discovery in 2009 of photographs of government employees and contractors in Guantánamo Bay cells of detainees. The investigation concludes that no member of the defense team did anything wrong.  This includes defense lawyers and others who were part of the ACLU’s John Adams Project.

“While we are gratified that DoJ has confirmed what we already knew -- that the ACLU is clear of any wrongdoing in our defense of detainees' rights at Guantánamo -- it is astonishing that our conduct was under review in the first place," ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said. "Throughout our 92-year history, ACLU lawyers have been above reproach, and today's findings by the DoJ underscore that tradition.  Not even J. Edgar Hoover or President George W. Bush investigated the ACLU's activities. However, it remains troubling that the government has failed to indict the CIA agents who participated in torture and who have thus far not been held accountable for these atrocities.”


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The John Adams Project was started in April 2008 by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in response to the military commissions set up by the Bush administration for the men imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay. The project’s goal was to assemble defense teams to be available to assist in the representation of those Guantánamo detainees who had been charged under the Military Commissions Act, subject to the detainees' consent. More than 30 lawyers agreed to work on the project.  Some of those lawyers have since been appointed by the Convening Authority of the military commissions to continue the representation of the detainees, including those charged with the 9/11 attacks and the attack on the USS Cole.


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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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