Announcing the 14th annual Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) award ceremony to be held on Sunday Sept 25th at the Kay Center Chapel, American University, in conjunction with the “No War 2016: Real Security Without Terrorism” Conference.
SAAII is honoring former CIA analyst and case officer John Kiriakou whose CIA career spanned 14 years, beginning in 1990, when he served as a Middle East analyst. He later became a case officer in charge of recruiting agents overseas. In 2002, he led the team that located Abu Zubaydah, alleged to be a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda. It later transpired that Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times.
John Kiriakou was the first U.S. government official to confirm (during a national news interview in December 2007) that waterboarding – which he described as torture – was used to interrogate al Qaeda prisoners. Kiriakou also stated that he found US “enhanced interrogation techniques” immoral, and that Americans are “better than that.”
Kiriakou subsequently faced persecution by the US government for his act of truth-telling, and was sentenced to a 30-month prison term – ostensibly for revealing classified information. To this day Kiriakou remains the sole US government official – past or present – who has gone to jail over the issue of torture in the post-9/11 era. Kiriakou’s claim of US torture practices was later confirmed by President Obama, who in 2014 publicly acknowledged that “we tortured some folks.”
The Sam Adams Associates will present Kiriakou with its traditional Corner-Brightener Candlestick which honors intelligence professionals for shining the light of truth into dark corners.
Kiriakou is currently an associate fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies. The author of two books, he also previously served as a senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as a counterterrorism consultant for ABC News.
He has been the recipient of several exemplary performance awards while at the CIA; also the 2012 Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage, as a “national security whistleblower who stood up for constitutional rights and American values, at great risk to his personal and professional life”; the “Peacemaker of the Year” award in 2013 by the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County; a 2013 “Giraffe Hero Commendation,” awarded to people who stick their necks out for the common good; and in 2015, the PEN Center USA, the West Coast branch of PEN International (a human rights and literary arts organization that promotes the written word and freedom of expression), gave John Kiriakou its First Amendment Award for his role in exposing waterboarding as torture used during President George W. Bush’s “war on terror.”
The SAAII award event will commence promptly at 4 pm on Sept 25 in the Kay Center Chapel, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC, with a reception planned from 5:30 to 6 pm in the Kay Center Lounge. The event is free and open to the public. Besides John Kiriakou, speakers will tentatively include former CIA officer Larry C. Johnson, former NSA official Thomas Drake and retired Colonel Larry Wilkerson (bios below).
SAAII invites all who wish to attend the September 25th award ceremony to also register for the World Beyond War’s “No War 2016: Real Security Without Terrorism” conference, which features an impressive roster of prominent non-profit leaders, academic professionals and peace activists and has generously incorporated this event into its program (details here). Individuals can register here for all or part of the 3-day conference (Sept 23-25).
Event speakers will include the following:
Lawrence B. “Larry” Wilkerson is a retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson has been vocal in his criticism of U.S. foreign policy. He is a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, and the 2009 SAAII recipient.
Thomas Drake is a decorated United States Air Force and Navy veteran who became a Senior Executive at the N ational Security Agency, where he witnessed not only widespread waste, fraud, and abuse, but also gross violations of our 4th Amendment rights. He was a material witness and whistleblower regarding a multi-year Department of Defense Inspector General audit of the failed multi-billion dollar NSA program known as TRAILBLAZER, for which NSA management opted instead of THINTHREAD, a much less costly (and 4th Amendment-observant) intelligence data collection, processing, and analysis system that had been tested and was ready for wider deployment. Drake received the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling in 2011 and also received the SAAII award that year.
Larry C. Johnson is a former CIA analyst who moved in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, anti-terrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department’s Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm with expertise in counterterrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management and investigating money laundering. Mr. Johnson works with US military commands in scripting terrorism exercises, briefs on terrorist trends, and conducts undercover investigations on product counterfeiting, smuggling and money laundering. He has appeared as a consultant and commentator in many major newspapers and on national news programs.