13 MAR (WASHINGTON DC) – Former CIA officer John Kiriakou isn’t the first government whistleblower to feel exploited by the non-profit Government Accountability Project (GAP), and he probably won’t be the last. After lending his name, image, voice and story to GAP’s fundraising efforts, the married father of five was left with little more than bankruptcy and a 30-month prison sentence.
In 2007, Kiriakou disclosed the use of waterboarding during interrogations of Al Qaeda detainees. After participating in the capture of the suspected terrorist Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002, he appeared on ABC News to allege that waterboarding was a form of torture. He was celebrated by antiwar activists and politicians alike, although he admitted that the technique worked and yielded results less brutal than drone-fired Tomahawk missiles. Despite a fund set up for his family, the married father of five faces financial ruin and few prospects when he completes his 30-month prison sentence.
OMSJ has described the questionable relationship between GAP and their corporate and political sponsors, whose “progressive” values conflict with GAP’s ostensible mission.
Another GAP critic includes pilot and former FAA attorney David Pardo, who endured retaliation after implicating FAA rules and lax oversight after Continental Flight 3407 crashed into a Buffalo NY neighborhood. Pardo eventually formed MSPB Watch to ensure that the Merit Systems Protection Board, adheres to its mission of protecting federal employees and whistleblowers within the executive branch.
Now this is tricky, because these groups helped him navigate the treacherous waters of the mainstream media, with mixed results, during his prosecution and through his send-off to prison. So for John Kiriakou to say the following about groups like the Project on Government Oversight (and implicitly the Government Accountability Project), when they expect loyalty in return (Washington being a transactional town and all), is nothing short of astounding:
No one knows this better than John Kiriakou, the CIA agent who reported to federal prison two weeks ago for blowing the whistle on the agency’s use of torture. During an interview at an Arlington, Va., coffee shop, Kiriakou said the time has come for Washington watchdog groups—organizations like Public Citizen, Project on Government Oversight, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and others—to admit that President Obama hasn’t come close to making good on his promise to make government more transparent and accountable.
“Dan Ellsberg. He called me again last night,” said Kiriakou, referring to the man who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers and opened the world’s eyes to the United States’ long involvement in Vietnam. “We talk about this all the time. He keeps asking me, ‘Where is the outrage? If this were a Republican administration, people would be in the streets, right? We would be marching in the streets. But people cut Obama a break to the point of irrationality.’ ”
This comes just a few days after this author sent Mr. Kiriakou a letter* urging him to consider who should speak on his behalf. Where it gets complicated is that GAP currently manages his legal defense fund, which is helping to support his family. That should continue unabated, regardless what insights Mr. Kiriakou shares with the world that prove uncomfortable for GAP and its cohorts.
*This author does not take any credit for this development. From his perspective, it is just a welcome coincidence.
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Tags: (FOIA), Barack Obama, Central Intelligence Agency, Chuck Grassley, CIA, CREW, Daniel Ellsberg, Danielle Brian, Freedom of Information Act, GAP, Government Accountability Project, Jesselyn Radack, John Kiriakou, NGO Accountability, Norm Eisen, Paul Thacker, POGO, Project on Government Oversight, transparency