Despite the massive uproar over the CIA torture report, little has been spoken about John Kiriakou, the former CIA operative who opposed the repeated waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah—a man currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.
Kiriakou is currently serving jail time on charges of espionage for speaking out against the CIA torture methods six years ago. He was the first from the intelligence agency to blow the whistle on the CIA torture program, which now has been documented in the Senate report released partly on Tuesday.
John Kiriakou, worked for the CIA between 1990 and 2004. In 2007, he came forward and in an interview with the ABC reporter Brian Ross revealed to the world some of the first details on the agency's widespread use of torture methods such as waterboarding.
He was the first CIA operative to have spoken about the plight of Abu Zubaydah, a senior al-Qaeda operative. Reports noted that Abu Zubaydah was CIA's guinea pig.
Since he was the first high-profile al-Qaida terror suspect captured after the 9/11 attacks, he had to face "non-stop use of CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques 24 hours a day for 17 days".
In one instance, waterboarding rendered Zubaydah "completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth", the report says.
The revelations of Kiriakou provided the initial sparks that triggered an investigation that ultimately brought out the CIA torture report.
Kiriakou—a father of five—was prosecuted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act for allegedly revealing classified information to a reporter. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison, which he is still serving.
According to a report in Common Dreams, Kiriakou is a victim of the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers, in which the president's administration has charged more people under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined.
The report noted that Obama was ready to incarcerate Kiriakou, but refused to prosecute any of the government officials who designed, authorised, or otherwise took part in implementation of the CIA's torture program.
Jesselyn Radack, the lawyer who represented Kiriakou, wrote Tuesday in Salon, "The newly released Executive Summary of Senate Intelligence Committee's Torture Report lays bare that the CIA makes propaganda its business, and the propagandists and perpetrators of torture are enjoying their freedom. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has made truth-telling a crime, and truth-tellers are in jail."