The Justice Department has charged former CIA officer John Kiriakou, later a Democratic staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with violations of the Espionage Act. Kiriakou is charged with supplying the name, address, phone number, and e-mail address of a CIA interrogator to Scott Shane of the New York Times, who published the information along with the ‘exposé’ about water-boarding in a 22 June 2008 article, despite the requests of then-CIA director General Michael Hayden and the lawyer of the CIA agent that the agent’s name not be disclosed. Hinderaker then lists the various ways that Shane harassed the agent and his family, including parking in front of his home for hours, and calling his wife, mother, sister and high school friend.
During the run-up to the publication of the article, Kiriakou lied to the agent:
I told the ombudsman [of the New York Times] that I thought the use of your name in the article was despicable and unnecessary, and that I thought it could put you in personal danger. . . . [The author] then asked if I thought he should mention you by name. I said absolutely not.
He then later lied to the FBI agents who were investigating the source of the information.
The information supplied by Kiriakou was later given to an investigator working on behalf of the terrorists at Guantánamo and their lawyers. The investigator surreptitiously photographed the agent, and several of the photos were later discovered in the cells of the terrorists.
Information involving the interrogation programme, along with other sensitive information, was later published by Kiriakou in a book. He was also the subject of a 2007 televised interview by ABC News about the interrogations, but he later had to admit that the information he provided was hearsay, in that he was not present for the interrogations.
A Washington Post article discusses the case, lamenting that “Critics warn that the crackdown will erode the ability of news organizations to expose government abuses”. Ironically, the article mentions nothing about abuse of classified information that endangers national security and the lives of Americans working in its defense. The article also neglects to mention that Kiriakou was a Democratic staffer; refuses to speculate on his motives; nor does it question why Shane, his editor, or publisher Pinch Sulzberger are not also under indictment for violation of the Espionage Act.
The New York Times, you may remember, is the same paper which decried the ‘disclosure’ of the name of Valerie Plame (a CIA analyst, not a covert agent) in the ludicrous story pumped up by her husband Joe Wilson and bandied about to further discredit the Bush administration, though all its allegations later proved to be (quietly) false. The MSM knew for practically the entire time of the story and the subsequent investigation that it was actually Richard Armitage who leaked her name and position (to the extent that it was not already known among the social set in DC).
The MSM has a remarkable ability to dial up or down its sense of high moral dudgeon.