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CIA agent from New Castle who shared secrets released from prison

Tribune-Review
| Thursday, February 5, 2015 11:15 a.m.
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Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent who participated in the capture and questioning of the first al-Qaeda terrorist suspect to be water boarded delivers a lecture titled, 'Deviance and Social Control' to a class at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012.

A New Castle native convicted of revealing the name of a covert CIA operative has been transferred from prison to home confinement to finish the final months of his sentence, the Bureau of Prisons confirmed Thursday.

A tweet posted at 8:12 p.m. Tuesday includes a photo of John C. Kiriakou, 50, of Arlington, Va., sitting on a couch with his children with the words, “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty. I’m free at last. MLK Jr (and John Kiriakou).”

Kiriakou and his lawyers couldn’t be reached for comment.

His plea agreement with the government set his sentence at 30 months with credit for the time he had spent in custody. He was transferred to a residential re-entry program in Maryland on Tuesday. Federal prisoners are considered for home confinement during either the last six months of their sentence or the last 10 percent of their sentence, whichever is less, an agency spokesman said.

Kiriakou’s prison sentence ends on May 1. He must then serve three years of probation, according to court records.

Kiriakou pleaded guilty Oct. 23, 2012, to confirming the identity of an undercover CIA operative to a man who claimed to be a journalist working on a book about the war on terror. The operative was connected to the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program that captures and questions terrorism suspects.

The man passed the information to lawyers representing terror suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Kiriakou said in court documents. The information he provided ended up in the hands of those suspects.

The investigation began in 2009 when authorities discovered detainees at Guantanamo Bay had photos of CIA and FBI personnel who had interrogated them, prosecutors said.

Kiriakou was an intelligence officer with the CIA from 1990 until 2004.

He participated in the 2002 capture of al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan. Zubaydah was waterboarded during interrogation and revealed information that led to the arrest of Jose Padilla, who plotted to explode a “dirty” bomb in the United States designed to spread radioactive material.

Zubaydah provided information that exposed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the mastermind of 9/11.

Kiriakou had retired in 2007 when he became the first CIA insider to confirm the United States was torturing suspects to obtain information.

The government contends Kiriakou revealed the identity of the covert operative and provided classified information about other CIA officers and operations to journalists to raise his public profile for the publication of his book about his CIA career.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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