In a world that seems to be getting crazier by the say, the imprisonment of Thomas Drake, former senior executive of the National Security Agency, and John Kiriakou, a former CIA analyst, is incredible as the perpetrators of the crimes they exposed continue to be free, still working in the government, and will not be prosecuted.
The ‘crime’ of both Drake and Kiriakou is that that told the truth. They exposed the unsavoury (illegal) practices of their government.
Drake worked for the NSA for seven years, and when he attempted to bring what he thought were illegal activities to the attention of his bosses he was ignored. Becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of interest, Drake took his concerns to the press.
The main concern for Drake was the use of the NSA Trailblazer project, which was designed to analyse data from internet traffic and mobile communications, and intruded into the privacy of US citizens far more than allowed by law. Drake also cited concerns about mismanagement and waste within the NSA, which was reported by journalist Siobhan Gorman, of The Baltimore Sun.
Although he was cautious, his contact with a reporter was discovered and he was indicted by the government under the Espionage Act, stating that he had wilfully retained top-secret documents for the purpose of “unauthorised disclosure”. He was also charged with obstructing justice and giving false information to federal law-enforcement agencies.
Drake could have faced up to 35 years in prison if he had been convicted of all offences. However, the government’s case collapsed resulting in Drake receiving a one year suspended sentence for “exceeding authorised used of a computer”.
John Kiriakou spent his career at the CIA specialising in counter-terrorism operations and rose to the position of Chief of Counter-terrorist Operations in Pakistan, which he held until his resignation from the CIA in 2004.
Kiriakou then held various positions until in 2011 he became a managing partner of Rhodes Global Consulting and a political risk analysis company. He also acted as a counter-terrorism consultant for ABC News.
On 10th December 2007, Kiriakou gave an interview to ABC News describing his participation in the capture of Abu Zubaydah who was accused of being an aid to Osama Bin Laden.
During this interview Kiriakou said that he had been told that Zubaydah had answered interrogator’s questions after only one short instance of waterboarding. Kiriakou’s account then spread through the media, and he became a guest on news and public affairs shows.
On 23rd January 2012, Kiriakou was charged with revealing the name of another CIA employee who was involved in classified activities, and of repeatedly disclosing classified information to journalists. As with Drake, Kiriakou faced a long jails sentence if convicted on all counts, but was eventually convicted on one count of passing classified information to the media and was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment.
So these two men (who are two of many others who have been imprisoned because of similar revelations) have been tried and convicted of fairly minor crimes, while those who engage in torture and other illegal activities with the sanction of the US government are free to carry on their work and lives without a single instance of investigation.
The United States government has long been known for double standards, looking after their own kind and persecuting anyone who dares to revel the true nature of government involvement in crimes around the world. If someone is in the ‘circle’ and keeps their mouth shut they are OK, but dare to take one step out and all hellfire will be released.
If the American people believe that the atrocities committed by their government are acceptable, and the truth is not, then there is not much hope for them. ‘Land of the Free’ disappeared a long time ago, and the constant distraction of trash TV and bullshit shield most from reality.
You can see an interview with John Kiriakou on RT’s Breaking the Set with Abby Martin here
You can see an interview with Thomas Drake on the same programme here.