Interview with John Kiriakou, the ex-CIA officer who blew the whistle on the US torture program, about his new book “Doing Time Like a Spy”, European and US whistleblower politics and “Trumpileaks”. Conducted by Ali Fahimi from Whistleblower-Netzwerk e.V. in Washington D.C. (09.06.17).
WBNW Why did you quit your job at the CIA and was the decision connected to a specific experience that you made? How do you make your living today?
Kiriakou Believe it or not, when I said in 2004 that I was leaving the CIA to spend more time with my children, I was actually leaving the CIA to spend more time with my children. With that said, as much as I loved my CIA career and was proud of my accomplishments, the CIA changed dramatically on September 11, 2001. It turned into a paramilitary killing machine, which I was not comfortable with so. So, I guess I would call my departure from the CIA an “amicable divorce.”
WBNW Are you satisfied with the results of your whistleblowing about the CIA torture programme? What kind of structural changes did you expect and in how far have your expectations become reality?
Kiriakou I am satisfied, but it took me years to get to that position. In the immediate aftermath of my whistleblowing, I was distraught that the focus was on me, rather than on what I had revealed. I wanted the torture program to be a matter of national debate. Instead, the debate was about criminal charges that were levied against me. That changed in 2015, however, thanks to Senators John McCain and Dianne Feinstein. With passage of the McCain-Feinstein Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, the ban on torture is now the law of the land.