A former CIA officer was charged today with “repeatedly” disclosing classified information to journalists, including the name of a covert CIA officer and information revealing the role of another CIA employee in classified activities, the Justice Department announced Monday.
It said in a statement that a former CIA officer, identified as John Kiriakou, 47, of Arlington, Virginia, was a CIA intelligence officer between 1990 and 2004, serving at headquarters and in various classified overseas assignments.
According to the statement, the charges result from an investigation that was triggered by a classified defense filing in January 2009, which contained classified information the defense had not been given through official government channels, and, in part, by the discovery in the spring of 2009 of photographs of certain government employees and contractors in the materials of high-value detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The investigation revealed that on multiple occasions, one of the journalists to whom Kiriakou “is alleged to have illegally disclosed classified information, in turn, disclosed that information to a defense team investigator, and that this information was reflected in the classified defense filing and enabled the defense team to take or obtain surveillance photographs of government personnel.”
It added that Kiriakou was charged with “one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act for allegedly illegally disclosing the identity of a covert officer and two counts of violating the Espionage Act for allegedly illegally disclosing national defense information to individuals not authorized to receive it.”
Kiriakou was also charged with “one count of making false statements for allegedly lying to the Publications Review Board of the CIA in an unsuccessful attempt to trick the CIA into allowing him to include classified information in a book he was seeking to publish.”
The four-count criminal complaint alleges that Kiriakou made “illegal disclosures about two CIA employees and their involvement in classified operations to two journalists on multiple occasions between 2007 and 2009.”
In one case, revealing the employee’s name as a CIA officer disclosed classified information as the employee was and remains covert (identified in the complaint as “Covert Officer A”).
In the second case, Kiriakou allegedly disclosed the name and contact information of an employee, identified in the complaint as “Officer B,” “whose participation in an operation to capture and question terrorism subject Abu Zubaydah in 2002 was then classified.”
Kiriakou’s alleged disclosures occurred prior to a June 2008 front-page story in The New York Times disclosing Officer B’s alleged role in the Abu Zubaydah operation.
In June 2008, The New York Times published an article by Journalist B entitled “Inside the Interrogation of a 9/11 Mastermind,” which publicly identified Officer B and reported his alleged role in the capture and questioning of Abu Zubaydah, facts which were then classified, the statement noted.