Exclusive: Freed CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Says “I Would Do It All Again” to Expose Torture

Democracy Now has the broadcast Exclusive: Freed CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Says “I Would Do It All Again” to Expose Torture. There is also a full transcript available at the previous link.

In a broadcast exclusive interview, we spend the hour with John Kiriakou, a retired CIA agent who has just been released from prison after blowing the whistle on the George W. Bush administration’s torture program. In 2007, Kiriakou became the first CIA official to publicly confirm and detail the agency’s use of waterboarding.

Well, it’s really about 45 minutes or less because the news summary at the beginning takes up about 15 minutes.

At about 43 minutes into the video, Kiriakou talks about the “crime” for which he was punished. To hear his explanation, he was trying to protect the reputation of the person whose name he confirmed to a reporter, but did not reveal to the public. It is proof that no good deed goes unpunished.

Just to take a little dig at some relatives of some relatives, none of whom are probably reading this blog, I will excerpt some remarks at the end of the interview about Greece.

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Sure. I served in Greece for a couple of years, going back and forth, really, between headquarters and Greece. I was working on terrorism issues. But at the time—and this kind of seems quaint now—it was Euroterrorism, communist terrorism, specifically the Revolutionary Organization 17 November. I had a great experience in Greece. It’s a great country.

But the Greeks have had a tough time for the last—especially for the last seven years or so. The recession has hit Greece probably harder than any other country in western Europe, certainly harder than in the United States. And part of the problem was, you had two governing parties—PASOK and Neo Demokratia, New Democracy—that were really corrupted by the system. And now, Syriza, which is a young, new, populist party, has won a sweeping victory in the recent parliamentary elections, falling only two seats short of an absolute majority, which in Greece is really an incredible feat.

Like most Greek Americans, I’m very excited about this. I think it was time for a change. It was time for a populist regime in Greece, a leftist populist regime. And I think that under Alexis Tsipras’s leadership, I think the country may come out of its recession. Now, with that said, there’s going to have to be some give from the troika in terms of aid and assistance to Greece. The Greek people have suffered terribly. Suicides are up something like 300 percent. There’s a brain drain, where doctors, lawyers, engineers are moving to the United States or Europe or Australia. And that has to come to an end. The Greeks have to stay in Greece and try to rebuild their country. But I think that can be done under Syriza. I’m very excited about it.

Seems like I have proof here that not all Greek Americans think alike. Their non-Greek relatives by marriage should not necessarily accept what they say as gospel to use an odd word.

As a little afterthought, I have to wonder why does President Obama think it more important to prosecute CIA whistle blowers for trying to protect the reputations of their fellow CIA officers than it is to prosecute criminal bankers, but leave the bankers free to further ply their criminal trade? Why the same attitude about leaving the criminals in the CIA untouched, and jailing the ones who are doing nothing criminal? Is this part of the Constitutional law that Obama was teaching before he became President? I don’t think this behavior is what I voted for when I voted for President Obama (twice).

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