John Kiriakou, a prominent ex-CIA officer who was among the first to reveal the agency’s torture program, was seriously injured in a scooter accident earlier this week in Washington, D.C.
Kiriakou says he suffered six broken ribs, a broken clavicle and a fractured vertebrae in an accident Tuesday night en route to a bookstore in northwest D.C. “I had a port installed in my neck and a second port installed in my back to take targeted painkillers,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Thank God I was wearing a helmet.”
Kiriakou was charged in 2012 with leaking classified information about the CIA waterboarding of an Al-Qaeda suspect at a secret site in Thailand. He eventually pleaded guilty to one count of leaking the identity of a fellow CIA officer to a reporter and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
“It was a serious accident, but hopefully he’ll be released on Sunday,” Jesselyn Radack, one of his attorneys, tells Newsweek. She said Kiriakou was driving his Vespa in northwest Washington Tuesday night when a car stopped suddenly in front of him. He plowed into the vehicle and was taken by ambulance to George Washington University Hospital, Radack says.
“Life can change in a second,” Kiriakou wrote on his Facebook page.
The Washington Metropolitan Police Department said it had no record of the incident and referred inquiries to the U.S. Park Police, which also patrols the area. The Park Police could not be reached for comment in time for publication.
Kiriakou believes the incident may not have been an accident, according to a friend, New York attorney Rahul Manchanda, who said he spoke with the former CIA man. “He said it was suspicious,” the lawyer says, because the car in front of him stopped without warning. But Radack, also a close friend of Kiriakou’s, said that although he had made “many enemies over the years,” he had not raised any suspicions about the accident with her.
Kiriakou was scheduled to speak Saturday at the Rockport, Massachusetts, public library about his recent prison memoir, Doing Time Like a Spy. “The author’s visit has been postponed until further notice, as he sustained serious injuries in a recent motorcycle accident,” the nearby Gloucester Times newspaper reported on October 4.
In December 2007, Kiriakou told ABC’s Brian Ross that waterboarding was used to interrogate Al-Qaeda prisoners and “probably saved lives” but that he regarded the tactic as “torture.” In his 2010 memoir, however, he said, “What I told Brian Ross in late 2007 was wrong on a couple counts…. I wasn’t there when the interrogation took place; instead, I relied on what I’d heard and read inside the agency at the time.”