I was driving East towards Maryland on the 76 Turnpike and I couldn’t get last night’s Frontline show from PBS out of my head. It had enraged me and mixed my emotions about this trip to Washington DC even more. Lanny Breuer was stuck in my goddamn head. Breuer was Chief of the Criminal Division at Justice and charged with the task of investigating Wall Street fraud after the Mortgage crisis and subsequent bailouts and bringing criminals to justice.
Of course Breuer could find no “criminals”. According to Breuer, greed is not a crime, fraud is not a crime. Another factor in Breuer’s thinking was that, in his words “The jobs of tens of thousands of employees can literally be at stake”. And as Senator Ted Kaufman rightly pointed out “That is not the job of a prosecutor, to worry about the health of the banks, in my opinion. Job of the prosecutors is to prosecute criminal behavior. It’s not to lie awake at night and kind of decide the future of the banks.”
The reason this upset me so greatly as I headed towards our nation’s capital, just three days after Barack Obama’s recent coronation was I was not going for a protest, or to see a museum, I was going to support and visit my cousin, John Kiriakou who was about to be sentenced to jail for 30 months by the same government who could find no crimes among the Wall Street Banks.
If you are not familiar with John’s story we have covered it extensively from the beginning. In short, he is the only person involved with the illegal CIA torture program following 9/11 who will be headed to jail. And the reason is he is heading for federal prison is because he’s the only one who blew the whistle on torture –he’s the reason we now know about waterboarding at all. The government of course alleges that John “outed” an agent who was undercover which threatened that agent and this country’s security. Of course it does not dispute that the agent took part in illegal torture, so even if their allegation was true it would be the equivalent of giving up the name of a Nazi war criminal after Word War II. Nor is there any dispute that Richard Armitage outed CIA agent Valerie Plame in the infamous Scooter Libby case or, more recently that former CIA director David Patraeus leaked intelligence to a journalist with whom he was sexually involved –both of these men are walking free. Apparently leaks in the name of political revenge or fucking won’t be charged. John Kiriakou made the mistake of trying to tell the truth.
And to add to this shit heap, it’s now known that a top Obama official leaked intelligence to the makers of the film Zero Dark Thirty, infamous now for its inaccurate and fictitious account of torture leading to the capture to Osama Bin Laden. A subject John Kiriakou knows is patently false because he was fucking there in Afghanistan rooting out Al Qaeda operatives. But it’s a marvelous propaganda film for the CIA, the military and Obama and that’s what’s important.
And as the LA Times pointed out “…compare Kiriakou’s actions against those of Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the former head of the CIA’s clandestine operations. In 2005, Rodriguez destroyed 92 videotapes of detainee interrogations because, he wrote in an e-mail, letting the public see them would be “devastating” to the agency. Both the destruction of the tapes and the scenes they documented were probably felonies. Yet the Justice Department’s two-year investigation into the case ended with a whimper, and no charges, last summer. Rodriguez, now retired, was last seen opining on the torture scenes in “Zero Dark Thirty” for the Washington Post.”