‘Guilty of Embarrassing Government’: CIA Whistleblower Gets 42-Month Sentence

From Common Dreams, by Lauren McCauley, May 2015

Prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling stands in stark contrast to leniency granted to former CIA director General David Petraeus

Advocates say Sterling is the latest casualty in the Obama administration’s war

A federal court in Alexandria, Virginia sentenced former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling to three and a half years in prison on Monday in a case that has received widespread condemnation for revealing the “rank hypocrisy” of the U.S. government’s war on whistleblowers.

In January, a jury convicted Sterling of violating the Espionage Act and leaking classified information to New York Times journalist James Risen about a botched CIA mission to provide flawed nuclear plans to Iran, known as “Operation Merlin.” He was found guilty of nine charges against him and faced as many as 24 years behind bars.

Risen refused to testify against Sterling and many say that the former intelligence official was convicted merely on circumstantial evidence.

Ahead of the sentencing, Sterling’s attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema to reconsider the proposed terms, arguing that former CIA director and retired general David Petraeus was given a plea deal and shown great leniency despite comparable charges. In March, Petraeus was handed a $40,000 fine and two years probation for leaking troves of classified material to his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell.

“[Sterling] should be treated similarly to others convicted for the same crimes and not singled out for a long prison sentence because he elected to exercise his right to trial,” Sterling’s lawyers stated in a pre-sentencing memorandum, noting that Sterling had taken his case to a jury rather than reaching a pre-trial plea bargain with prosecutors. “[T]he court cannot turn a blind eye to the positions the government has taken in similar cases.”

Following the announcement on Monday, advocates held that even the lesser sentence revealed the inequalities of the U.S. justice system with dangerous implications for government accountability. Further, the conviction marks the longest sentence delivered to a convicted leaker in a civilian court during Obama’s tenure.

“Sterling is the latest casualty in the administration’s war on national security whistleblowers,” said attorney Jesselyn Radack, who serves as the national security and human rights director for the Government Accountability Project. “Like the other whistleblowers prosecuted under the Espionage Act, Sterling is guilty of embarrassing the government. This case lays bare the government’s rank hypocrisy in the prosecution of leaks. If you’re loyal to the truth rather than the national security establishment you’ll be bludgeoned.”

Read more: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/05/11/guilty-embarrassing-government-cia-whistleblower-gets-42-month-sentence
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8 comments on “‘Guilty of Embarrassing Government’: CIA Whistleblower Gets 42-Month Sentence
  1. swo8 says:

    It is serious when the people are seen as the enemy.
    Leslie

  2. In this day of age, going to jail for what you believe is right is a badge of honor.

    • RonMamita says:

      LOL😀
      Your comment has me imagining jails critically overflowing as the dissenting population seek honor badges creating a crisis of overpopulated jails.

  3. The only justice will be for Obama to give him a pardon at the end of his presidency. It is telling that he is also black.

    • RonMamita says:

      Hmm, I have read news-reports about how President Obama “has granted clemency more rarely than any modern president”, do a internet search and correct me if I have that wrong.
      And didn’t Obama grant immunity to his predecessor, Bush Jr torture activities?

      I wish for Jeffrey Sterling to file his appeal quickly and keep the court process moving forward successfully, and that other whistleblowers come forward too.

      I think I would have took the court to jury trial as well, even as this report suggests that he could and perhaps should have took a plea deal as General David Petraeus did.

  4. RonMamita says:

    John Rubino – May 13, 2015

    Anti-Terrorist Legislation Poses Threat to Your Bank Account
    And The WAR on CASH
    Guest’s website: http://dollarcollapse.com/

    Produced by http://www.HoweStreet.com

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