On Tuesday, the United States Senate Intelligence Committee released its summary of the torture methods, or “enhanced interrogation techniques,” used by the Central Intelligence Agency on al-Qaeda hostages following the terror attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
The report, which contained details of CIA agents performing acts such as waterboarding, rectal feeding, and sleep deprivation, on the detainees, has led to questions over whether anyone will be prosecuted as a result.
Vox reported that while torture is illegal under U.S. law, any legal avenues have been closed off in this case, and thus far, “the only person the Obama administration has prosecuted in connection with the torture program is a man who revealed its existence to the media.”
According to International Business Times, John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer who is “currently serving jail time on charges of espionage for speaking out against the CIA torture methods” seven years ago, was the first from the agency to “blow the whistle on the CIA torture program.”
After working for the CIA from 1990 to 2004, Kiriakou shared his knowledge of the agency’s torture methods in 2007, during an interview on ABC News.
Kiriakou discussed the account of Abu Zubaydah, the first high-profile al-Qaeda terror suspected captured after the 9/11 attacks. Zubaydah was subjected to “non-stop use of CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques 24 hours a day for 17 days,” which included the practice of waterboarding.
During the interview, Kiriakou ultimately justified the technique, saying that if they hadn’t used it, and had missed out on an important “nugget of information,” he would have had trouble forgiving himself.
In addition to revealing to the world that the U.S. had used such extreme torture methods, Kiriakou also made it clear that the CIA officers were not acting alone, and were “carefully directed” from the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, “each step of the way.”
After pleading guilty in October 2012, Kiriakou began his 30-month sentence in February 2013, for revealing the CIA’s illegal torture program, and for disclosing the fact that the program was an official policy of the U.S. government.
Prior to beginning his sentence, Kiriakou said he was “accepting responsibility” for his actions, and “hoping that maybe the country is better and more informed and more transparent” for the debate he helped to initiate.
“I believe I was prosecuted not for what I did but for who I am: a CIA officer who said torture was wrong and ineffective and went against the grain.” Kiriakou said.
An RT interview from Jan. 31st 2013: