Don’t Prosecute Whistleblower Who Revealed Torture Program

Target: The Department of Justice

Goal: To stop the prosecution of John Kiriakou — an ex-CIA agent who is being prosecuted for revealing the United States torture program.

During much of the Bush administration, the United States military and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) captured, imprisoned and tortured numerous suspected “enemy combatants”. These combatants were held in secret prisons or on foreign US military bases and were not given access to any legal or humanitarian assistance. For years, the United States public was unaware of the terrible actions of its government, but eventually the US torture program was leaked.

Once allegations of torture surfaced, the US government attempted to cover itself from liability through the relabeling of torture techniques as “enhanced interrogation” techniques; these techniques included waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation, and mock executions — all of which are recognized torture techniques under international and domestic law.

John Kiriakou was the first primary source to publicly call the actions of the United States torture, rather than the official falsehood “enhanced interrogation”. Unfortunately, the United States government retaliated by charging Kiriakou under the 1917 Espionage Act for his exposure of “confidential information”. Kiriakou’s only “crime” was to expose the war crimes of the United States government to its people, and he should be protected as a whistleblower.

Sign this petition to demand that the Department of Justice stop its prosecution of John Kiriakou for his exposure of torture. It is absurd to charge a man who exposed torture to the public for espionage, particularly given the fact that the torturers (even those who admit their crimes publicly) have yet to feel any consequences for their crimes.


Dear United States Department of Justice,

You are currently prosecuting John Kiriakou, an ex-CIA agent, for the offense of revealing the United States torture program. In 2007, Kiriakou gave several interviews to media outlets, during which he revealed information about the CIA interrogation program and refuted the legal fig-leaf of the term “enhanced interrogation”. Kiriakou’s actions, while they did reveal confidential information, are clearly those of a whistleblower and should be protected rather than punished.

The exposure of illegal actions by the government, particularly where there has been a cover-up by officials, is not treason. The prosecution of whistleblowing who release such information appears to be politically motivated retaliation, if not an intentional attempt to intimidate future leakers.

I, as well as everybody else to sign this petition, implore you at the DOJ to drop the prosecution of John Kiriakou for his whistleblowing activities. Whistleblowers are necessary and prevent our government from escaping accountability by simply classifying all things which make it look bad. Your agency is threatening a man who exposed war crimes, yet you have declined to prosecute the perpetrators of the war crimes which were exposed; this is not justice.


[Your Name Here]

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118 Signatures

  • Lynn Juozilaitis
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