CIA whistleblower to Snowden: ‘Do not cooperate with the FBI’

NSA leaker Edward Snowden is the subject of an open letter of support just published from behind bars by John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent currently serving time for sharing state secrets.

In a letter dated June 13 and published Tuesday by Firedoglake,
the imprisoned CIA vet salutes Snowden for his recent disclosures
of classified documents detailing some of the vast surveillance
programs operated by the United States’ National Security Agency.

Thank you for your revelations of government wrongdoing over
the past week
,” Kiriakou writes. “You have done the
country a great public service

I know that it feels like the weight of the world is on your
shoulders right now, but as Americans begin to realize that we
are devolving into a police state, with the loss of civil
liberties that entails, they will see your actions for what they
are: heroic

Beginning with the June 6 publication of a dragnet court order demanding the phone data
of millions of Americans, The Guardian newspaper has released a
collection of leaked documents attributed to Snowden for which
the US government has charged him with espionage. He is
reportedly now hiding in a Moscow airport and has sought asylum from no fewer than 20 countries to avoid
prosecution in the US. Should he be sent home and forced to stand
trial, however, Snowden will likely find himself in a peculiar
position that the former Central Intelligence Agency analyst can
most certainly relate to: Kiriakou is currently serving a
36-month sentence at the Loretto, Pennsylvania federal prison for
revealing the identity of a covert CIA agent to reporters.

Before Kiriakou pleaded guilty to one count of passing classified
information to the media last year, the government charged him
under the Espionage Act of 1917. He has equated the prosecution
as retaliation for his own past actions, saying the charge wasn’t
the result of outing a secret agent but over exposing truths
about the George W. Bush administration’s use of waterboarding as
an interrogation tool in the post-9/11 war on terror. As in the
case of Snowden, Kiriakou’s supporters have hailed him as a
whistleblower. As the government sings a very different song,
though, the CIA analyst offers advice to Snowden in what is the
second of his “Letters from Loretto” published by Firedoglake
since Kiriakou’s two-and-a-half-year sentence began earlier this

First, find the best national security attorneys money can
,” writes Kiriakou. “I was blessed to be represented by
legal titans and, although I was forced to take a plea in the
end, the shortness of my sentence is a testament to their

Second, establish a website that your supporters can follow
your case, get your side of the story and, most importantly, make
donations to support your defense

Kiriakou goes on to encourage Snowden toward garnering support
within members of Congress and other institutions capable of
calling attention to his case, such as the American Civil
Liberties Union. Before he concludes, however, he bestows on
Snowden what he calls “the most important advice I can

DO NOT, under any circumstances, cooperate with the FBI,”
Kiriakou warns. “FBI agents will lie, trick and deceive you.
They will twist your words and play on your patriotism to entrap
you. They will pretend to be people they are not – supporters,
well-wishers and friends – all the while wearing wires to record
your out-of-context statements to use against you. The FBI is the
enemy; it’s a part of the problem, not the solution

I wish you the very best of luck,” Kiriakou writes before
signing off. “I hope you can get to Iceland quickly and
safely. There you will find a people and a government who care
about the freedoms that we hold dear and for which our
forefathers and veterans fought and died

When Snowden first revealed himself to be the source of the
leaked documents last month, murmurings quickly began circulating
of Iceland possibly extending his way an offer of asylum. The
list of countries asked to consider his request reportedly now
exceeds 20, and the likes of Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba and
Switzerland have all been floated as options. As Firedoglake’s
Kevin Gosztola recalls, though, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation likely won’t rule out dirty tricks to try and take
down Snowden before he escapes, at least if Kiriakou’s
experiences are any indication.

According to Kiriakou, the FBI also tried to set him up,”
Gosztola writes. He goes on to cite a January 2013 interview in
which the CIA whistleblower recounted a previously untold story
about the government’s alleged efforts to indict Kiriakou on even
more charges.

In the summer of 2010, a foreign intelligence officer offered
me cash in exchange for classified information
,” Kiriakou
said. “I turned down the pitch and I immediately reported it
to the FBI. So, the FBI asked me to take the guy out to lunch and
to ask him what information he wanted and how much information he
was willing to give me for it

After the lunch, I wrote a long memo to the FBI – and I did
this four or five times. It turns out — and we only learned this
three or four weeks ago — there never was a foreign intelligence
officer. It was an FBI agent pretending to be an intelligence
officer and they were trying to set me up on an Espionage Act
charge but I repeatedly reported the contact so I foiled them in
their effort to set me up.”

Kiriakou is one of eight Americans charged under that World War
One-era legislation by President Barack Obama, who has prosecuted
more people under that law that all previous leaders combined.
Snowden became the latest US citizen to have their name added to
that list and joins the likes of WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning
and NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake. In a question-and-answer
session hosted by The Guardian last month, Snowden celebrated
those men as “examples of how overly-harsh responses to
public-interest whistle-blowing only escalate the scale, scope
and skill involved in future disclosures

Citizens with a conscience are not going to ignore
wrong-doing simply because they’ll be destroyed for it: the
conscience forbids it. Instead, these draconian responses simply
build better whistleblowers. If the Obama administration responds
with an even harsher hand against me, they can be assured that
they’ll soon find themselves facing an equally harsh public
Snowden said.

In his first statement since entering Moscow more than a week
ago, Snowden published a note through WikiLeaks on Monday
dismissing the White House’s hunt for leakers, calling their
tactics deceptive, unjust and “bad tools of political

“In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of
whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are
stateless, imprisoned or powerless. No, the Obama administration
is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public
demanding the constitutional government it was promised – and it
should be
,” Snowden wrote.

Republished with permission from: RT