Criminal Justice

Former CIA Agent Pleads Guilty to Leaking Colleague Information

John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single charge of leaking information about colleagues in the agency’s detention and interrogation program involving al-Qaida suspects.

According to the New York Times, Kiriakou told an Eastern District of Virginia judge that he leaked the information to a reporter. The reporter has been identified as Matthew Cole, formerly of ABC News.

In exchange for the plea agreement, the government agreed to drop other charges, including accusations that Kiriakou identified another colleague to Scott Shane of the New York Times.

Kiriakou was a leader of the CIA team that located and captured Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaida member, in 2002. Kiriakou later did an interview with ABC News that focused on waterboarding. Later, the Times reports, it was found that Kiriakou greatly understated his agency’s use of waterboarding.

Kiriakou’s alleged leaks was discovered by Patrick Fitzgerald, the former Northern District of Illinois U.S. attorney who yesterday announced he was joining Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, according to a firm press release. They came to light while Fitzgerald investigated the behavior of Guantánamo Bay detainee defense lawyers. According to the Times, the lawyers sought to identify CIA interrogators who they say tortured their clients. The lawyers were ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing.

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