New Castle News

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December 18, 2012

Pardon sought for Kiriakou

NEW CASTLE — Efforts are under way to pursue a presidential pardon for a former New Castle resident and ex-CIA agent.

John Kiriakou pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of leaking the name of a covert agent. Kiriakou, 48, entered the plea as part of an agreement that he would serve two years in prison.

He has yet to be officially sentenced.

Kiriakou is the only person ever convicted under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, a 27-year-old federal law.

Kiriakou was a CIA veteran who played a role in the agency’s capture of al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002.

Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded by government interrogators and eventually revealed information that led to the arrest of “dirty bomb” plotter Jose Padilla and exposed Khalid Sheikh Mohamed as the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

However, there is dispute among officials whether waterboarding played a role in obtaining any information from Abu Zubaydah. In publicly discussing the process, Kiriakou — who did not participate — eventually said it was torture.

The online petition for Kiriakou’s pardon, presented by Washington, D.C., resident Cathy Schneider, describes Kiriakou as “an American hero.”

She cites his refusal to participate in the torture of terror suspects and his public declarations that torture is wrong.

The website with the pardon petition is: www.change.org/petitions/president-obama-commute-the-sentence-or-pardon-john-kiriakou

Under the Constitution, the president has broad power to pardon individuals. However, modern pardons typical follow a lengthy review of the case and recommendations from Justice Department officials.

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