POLITICS

Whistleblower: Government Lacks The 'Guts' To Charge U.S. Leaders With Torture

02/17/2015 06:45 pm ET | Updated Feb 17, 2015

The human rights abuses revealed in the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report released in December sparked global outrage, leaving some begging for senior officials from the George W. Bush administration to be held accountable. But CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou is certain the U.S. government will do nothing of the sort.

Just two weeks after Kiriakou was released from prison after agreeing to a plea deal in which he admitted to violating one count of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, he spoke with HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski on Tuesday about where the accountability should lie.

"There were CIA officers who were conducting interrogations in which prisoners died with the use of the cold cell or ice water being thrown on them or sleep deprivation," said Kiriakou, who remains under house arrest. "The Justice Department didn't issue a blanket approval to kill people during the course of interrogations and it's those people who I think should be prosecuted."

But Kiriakou said prosecutions in the United States would "never" reach high-ranking officials such as former Vice President Dick Cheney.

"I don't think our government, no matter who is president, would ever have the guts to charge someone at the level of a Dick Cheney or of a CIA director ... with crimes against humanity," Kiriakou said.

The only avenue for "justice," Kiriakou explained, is if "courageous" legal officials in foreign countries filed war crimes or crimes against humanity charges.

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