Kiriakou Recieves Award for 'Integrity in Intelligence'
The World Beyond War conference in Washington DC at American University concluded with an award ceremony to honor former CIA officer John Kiriakou for 'Integrity in Intelligence'. Kiriakou made public the government's water boarding torture program and went to prison. Eight former CIA/FBI and military intelligence professionals spoke during the award ceremony. Here are some of the words from this very moving event.
Larry Wilkerson (retired Army officer and chief of staff for Colin Powell at State Department): "It's clear that we unleashed hell in Iraq. One Arab put his finger in my chest and said, 'Go tell your former boss [Colin Powell who made the famous Iraq WMD speech at the United Nations on Feb 5, 2003] that every family in Jordan has an Iraqi refugee living in their home and now Syrian refugees are knocking on the door.'"
Larry Johnson (former CIA analyst): "John Kiriakou thought this was not a rigged system. He heard people say, Why can't you be a team player? If you do the right thing [inside the CIA] you'll get punished, if you do the wrong thing you'll get rewarded."
Philip Giradi (former CIA analyst): "You find out that you work for people who are killing people so they can build their careers. One day you wake up thinking we are the good guys but find out we are the bad guys."
Elizabeth Murray (former CIA analyst): "We are all public servants and have an obligation to tell the truth to the American people. You keep your mouth shut, don't step outside the line and you will have a good career."
John Kiriakou (former CIA officer): "I kept silent for 5 1/2 years but I watched these others up here [who had previously publicly spoken out]. I don't feel like I changed but I feel like the government has changed. This all started with that so-called Patriot Act. We Americans have a constitutional right to freedom of speech. It's none of the governments business what is in our communications. Anybody can be made to look like a suspect [from all the personal data collected by the NSA]. The government doesn't care what truth is. Daniel Ellsberg [Pentagon Papers whisleblower back in the early 1970's] once told me that every dirty trick the government tried against him is now legal under the Patriot Act. The Founding Fathers saw this coming and created the Bill of Rights. I have a constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech and will continue to use it!"