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Exclusive: Freed CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Says "I Would Do It All Again" to Expose Torture

02/09/2015 10:56 am ET | Updated Apr 11, 2015

In a broadcast exclusive, Democracy Now! airs an in-depth interview with John Kiriakou, a retired CIA agent who has just been released from prison after blowing the whistle on the George W. Bush administration's torture program. He appears on the program live from his home in Virginia, where he remains under house arrest for three months.

In 2007, Kiriakou became the first CIA official to publicly confirm and detail the agency's use of waterboarding. In January 2013, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. Under a plea deal, Kiriakou admitted to a single count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing the identity of a covert officer involved in the torture program to a freelance reporter, who did not publish it. In return, prosecutors dropped charges brought under the Espionage Act.

Kiriakou is the only official to be jailed for any reason relating to CIA torture. Supporters say he was unfairly targeted in the Obama administration's crackdown on government whistleblowers.

A father of five, Kiriakou spent 14 years at the CIA as an analyst and case officer, leading the team that found high-ranking al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah in 2002.

In a wide-ranging interview, Kiriakou says, "I would do it all over again," after seeing the outlawing of torture after he came forward. Kiriakou also responds to the details of the partially released Senate Committee Report on the CIA's use of torture; argues NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden did a "great national service," but will not get a fair trial if he returns to the United States; and describes the conditions inside FCI Loretto, the federal prison where he served his sentence and saw prisoners die with "terrifying frequency" from lack of proper medical care.

Watch the 2013 Democracy Now! interview with Kiriakou before he entered prison.

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