The Justice Department is unlikely to prosecute anyone connected to the brutal torture techniques outlined in a Senate report released on Tuesday, but the one man already sitting in jail in connection with the CIA’s interrogation program tried to draw public attention to it.
In an interview with ABC News in 2007, former CIA agent John Kiriakou was one of the first to acknowledge the existence of the CIA’s torture program. Federal authorities brought criminal charges against him in 2008 for revealing the name of a covert agent to a reporter. Kiriakou pleaded guilty to those charges in 2012 and is currently serving a 30-month federal prison sentence.
“I believe I was prosecuted not for what I did but for who I am: a CIA officer who said torture was wrong and ineffective and went against the grain,” Kiriakou said last year. Federal authorities say Kirakou had caused a security breach by leaking the name of another agent.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Tuesday that the Department of Justice would have to determine whether to bring charges against officials involved in the CIA interrogation program. But charges seem unlikely. Attorney General Eric Holder concluded a three-year investigation into the program in 2012, saying he would not charge anyone involved in waterboarding or other forms of torture.
After the Senate Intelligence Committee released a summary of its torture report on Tuesday, there were calls from the international community to prosecute those responsible for the torture program.
Under international law, the U.S. is obliged to prosecute torture “where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction,” Ben Emmerson, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s special investigator on counterterrorism and human rights, said in a statement. “States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes.”