CIA officer is jailed for leaking details on torture

A FORMER CIA officer has been sentenced on Friday to 30 months' jail for disclosing classified information to journalists in a case that underscored the Obama administration's harsh crackdown on national security leaks.

John Kiriakou, a 14-year CIA veteran, pleaded guilty in October to identifying an undercover operative who was involved in the use of severe interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, under the George W. Bush administration.

While the Justice Department has said it will not prosecute CIA officials who approved or conducted those interrogations, Kiriakou becomes the sixth current or former official charged with revealing classified information since 2009.

His lawyers and civil rights advocates portrayed the 48-year-old former counterterrorism officer as a whistleblower who helped expose torture in secret prisons. The CIA and its defenders denied using torture, which is illegal, referring to enhanced interrogation techniques.

The US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema said on Friday that Kiriakou had damaged the CIA. She called the sentence, the result of a plea arrangement with prosecutors, ''way too light''.

Before issuing the sentence, the judge asked Kiriakou if he had anything to say. When he declined, she said: ''Perhaps you have already spoken too much.''

Kiriakou helped lead the CIA team that captured Abu Zubaydah, believed to be a senior al-Qaeda member, in Pakistan in 2002. Kiriakou said in interviews that Abu Zubaydah and other detainees were waterboarded.

McClatchy Newspapers, The New York Times