The Invisible Man: Jeffrey Sterling, CIA Whistleblower

By Norman Solomon

Sterling was one of the very few African American case officers in the CIA. He became a whistleblower by virtue of going through channels to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2003 to inform staffers about the CIA’s ill-conceived, poorly executed and dangerous Operation Merlin, which had given a flawed design for a nuclear weapons component to Iran back in 2000.

CIA Whistleblower Found Guilty Proves That Using “Proper Channels” Doesn’t Work

Alexandria VA- In a case that has received very little coverage from mainstream media, a CIA whistle-blower has been found guilty on all 9 counts against him. Jeffrey Sterling was accused of leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen and revealing a botched CIA program to take down the Iranian nuclear program.

Monday, the jury in the case came back with a guilty verdict on all nine counts. Interestingly, earlier the same day, the jury had sent the judge a message saying they could not reach a verdict on a number of charges. A few hours later the verdict was unanimous.

The case revolved around a C.I.A. operation in which a former Russian scientist provided Iran with intentionally flawed nuclear component schematics. Mr. Risen revealed the operation in his 2006 book, “State of War,” describing it as a mismanaged, potentially reckless mission that may have inadvertently aided the Iranian nuclear program.

Perhaps the most important part of this story is that Jeffrey Sterling was never proven in court to have released information to NYT reporter James Risen. For his part, Risen never revealed Sterling as his source during the trial and had said he would go to prison before revealing the source. Even so, Sterling was connected to Risen because of action he had taken in the past by “whistle blowing” through the proper channels. Sterling had taken his concerns about the program to the Senate Intelligence Committee in early 2003, a time when dissenting voices in the C.I.A. were hushed as the country prepared for war in Iraq. The Justice Department and C.I.A., however, deny that characterization.

In the video above Ben Swann talks with Normon Solomon about the chilling effect this has on other whistle-blowers who are being told the correct and safe way to bring transparency to government is to use proper channels.

A profound injustice was committed today. Transparency activist Jeremy Hammond has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaking internal emails from the firm Stratfor to Wikileaks, which revealed massive unlawful surveillance by corporations. For this act of conscience, Hammond will spend the next decade of his life behind bars.


Via Center for Constitutional Rights


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When you’re strange -
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(c) The Doors - People Are Strange 


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