Putting the Torture Back in the Torture Whistleblowing Case

Kevin Gosztola has suggested and Josh Gerstein has confirmed that, along with Matthew Cole and Scott Shane, John Kiriakou has subpoenaed the Washington Post’s Julie Tate to give a deposition in his leak case.

The Shane subpoena is unsurprising. After all, it’s pretty clearly DOJ found Kiriakou through Shane’s June 22, 2008 story for which he claims to have 24 sources. Meaning any of the 23 other sources may be possible sources for Deuce Martinez’ identity, one of the charged leaks in the indictment. What’s interesting, however, is that Jesselyn Radack suggested to me on Twitter that Kiriakou might not subpoena Shane.

Matthew Cole is a more interesting subpoena, though also not surprising. After all, this investigation started not by investigating Shane’s story, but investigating the name of torturers submitted in a Gitmo filing. Presumably, then, DOJ first grilled the lawyers and their investigators about how they had learned the identities of the torturers they had included in that filing (note, Covert Officer A was not named there, because he was still covert), and from there they ultimately found Kiriakou.

Which brings us to Tate, who previously hasn’t been mentioned in this case. Gerstein writes,

Tate, a Post researcher who worked on stories about the Guantanamo prisoners and helped develop a Post databased of the inmates, was not mentioned in the indictment. However, Kiriakou’s lawyers said in a court filing “information developed by Mr. Kiriakou’s defense indicates that Researcher 1 [Tate] participated with Journalist A  [Cole] in certain activities alleged in the Indictment.”

Cole wasn’t actually alleged to have done anything in the indictment (though the complaint gets closer to suggesting he was investigating the torturers for the Gitmo defendants). But the suggestion is he was in a chain of information that ultimately led back to a bunch of lawyers unjustly accused of improperly treating classified information in a bid to defend their clients. Radack suggested Tate had a similar role.

What do @matthewacole & @JulieATate have in common?

I’m guessing this suggests Tate was somewhere in that same chain of information.

Consider for a moment how this complaint and indictment were structured by the now-retired Patrick Fitzgerald: Covert Officer A was not named in the original Gitmo filing, because he was covert. And Deuce Martinez may have been named, but he did not do the torturing; he did the questioning.

So Fitzgerald structured this case so as to avoid mentioning–much less admitting–that at its root lies a bunch of men guilty of torture. At its root lies the effort to hide the identity of torturers, and CIA’s efforts to punish those who brought that to light. If I’m right, and Tate is in that chain of people who exposed the identity of some torturers, then that’s part of what Kiriakou’s after: to show that he was simply involved in an effort to expose torturers. A whistleblower.

But there’s one other element. Radack also notes the irony here: the government is in a pickle, because they’ve been working very hard in the Jeffrey Sterling case to establish a precedent saying journalists can be subpoenaed in the same District as the Kiriakou case, EDVA, CIA’s home District. So they can’t very well turn around and say these journalists can’t be subpoenaed here. All the more so given that Kiriakou doesn’t have the luxury of just dropping the case to avoid subpoenaing the journalists, as the government does in Sterling.

I’m not sure it’ll work, but the Tate and Cole subpoenas sure seem like an effort to put the real lawbreakers–the torturers–back in the forefront of this case.

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6 Responses to Putting the Torture Back in the Torture Whistleblowing Case

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel Too low again. Make Calvin jump, Matthew!
emptywheel @AllThingsHLS Oh, I knew where he was going. Just joshing. @PriestOfStEs
bmaz I am on it! Pretty sure Favre could suit up today and beat the Bears! https://t.co/1clnAdHZSy
emptywheel Terry Bradshaw calling out Jim Bob Cooter and having everyone call him out for liking to say that. #ICouldBeAFootballCommentator
emptywheel @johnson_carrie I'd be wary abt @bmaz. He's growing entranced with the local NFC team.
emptywheel @PriestOfStEs La Sugra? That's a special sweetener for the cranberries only you west coasters use? ;p @AllThingsHLS
emptywheel @makarov__ Yeah, thought about him. This Thanksgiving thing is 25 years old?
emptywheel Remember when Detroit made you all watch Nickelback at halftime? Apparently Bill Sr. thought it'd help defeat the Packers.
emptywheel Folks? Saying Calvin has the most Thanksgiving TDs is mostly saying Calvin has more than Jason Witten.
emptywheel @nickmanes1 Joe Buck is just doing that bc @JohnDingell was mean to him.
emptywheel So's Jim Bob Cooter, apparently. https://t.co/XqofUjGaOW
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