NEW CASTLE — John Kiriakou will not go quietly into the night.
The phrase, which is taken from a poem by Dylan Thomas and is often used to describe someone who refuses to relent in the face of overwhelming odds, aptly describes Kiriakou.
After serving one third of his 30-month sentence, the New Castle native continues to stand up and speak out for what he believes. The former CIA agent and 1982 graduate of New Castle High School remains steadfast in his defense of America’s civil liberties and his condemnation of a government that he believes is out of control.
Kiriakou, author of a 2010 book titled “The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror,” was accused or providing classified information concerning the identity or activities of intelligence officers to journalists. However, the reporter did not publish the name of the operative.
Kirakou, 48, said the government tagged him a threat to public safety and wanted him locked away. He was sentenced Jan. 25. He believed that he would serve his time in a minimum security location, but soon discovered that he would instead be incarcerated at the Federal Corrections Institution in Loretto, Pa.
“They’ve made me a martyr,” he said during an October interview with the News.
Unless his sentence is commuted, Kirakou will spend the remaining 20 months amid hardened criminals.
Kiriakou’s father, Chris, who died in 2003, was a principal in the New Castle school district. His mother, Stella, retired as a teacher. She died in 2010.
Kiriakou calls himself a moderate, but his views on the civil liberties and the Constitution appeal to both liberals and conservatives.
He was recently awarded the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County’s 2014 “Peacemaker of the Year.”