ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - An ex-CIA officer who helped track down and capture a top al-Qaida figure was charged Monday with disclosing to reporters classified secrets, including the covert identities of his associates on the mission, in the latest of a series of prosecutions by the Obama administration against suspected leakers.
John Kiriakou, 47, of Arlington, is charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and the Espionage Act. A judge at a federal court hearing ordered Kiriakou to be released on a $250,000 unsecured bond.
According to authorities, Kiriakou divulged to three journalists, including a New York Times reporter, the identity of "Officer B," who worked with Kiriakou on the capture of suspected al-Qaida financier Abu Zubaydah in the months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times, and his case has been made an example by those who believe the interrogation technique should be outlawed.
Kiriakou also is accused of disclosing the identity of another covert operator to an unidentified journalist. Authorities say that journalist then gave the officer's name to a team of defense lawyers representing a suspect the U.S. held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. When the lawyers included information about the officer in a sealed legal brief in 2009, the CIA became suspicious and the government began to investigate.
According to an affidavit, FBI agents interviewed Kiriakou last week, and he denied leaking the names.
specifically asked whether he had provided the Zubaydah interrogator's name to the Times for a 2008 article, he replied "Heavens, no." A New York Times spokeswoman declined to comment.