Wife of CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, Others Call On Obama to Pardon Him, full event, 021716





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Published on Feb 18, 2016

On February 17th, 2016, Holly Sterling, Jesselyn Radack, John Kiriakou, Tim Karr, Delphine Halgand, and Cornel West spoke at a news conference at the National Press Club, then delivered a petition containing over 150.000 signatures to the White House calling for the pardon of CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling.
Sterling was convicted in 2015 under the Espionage Act as a source for New York Times reporter James Risen’s book “State of War.” Sterling began serving his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence eight months ago.
In December 2015, Sterling’s wife Holly Sterling launched a petition on RootsAction.org and on Change.org asking President Obama to immediately pardon her husband. Since then the petition has accumulated well over 150,000 signers.
Co-sponsoring the news conference at the National Press Club were ExposeFacts, Reporters Without Borders and RootsAction.org. Those organizations initiated a coalition of groups in support of the petition that also includes the Bill of Rights Defense Committee / Defending Dissent Foundation, the Center for Media and Democracy, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, The Nation magazine and Restore the Fourth. ExposeFacts is a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

In addition to CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling’s wife Holly Sterling, the speakers at the news conference included:
* Cornel West, prominent civil rights activist, scholar, and professor at Union Theological Seminary;
* John Kiriakou, CIA whistleblower and former agency case officer;
* Jesselyn Radack, director of the Whistleblower and Source Protection Program (WHISPeR) at ExposeFacts;
* Delphine Halgand, U.S. director of Reporters Without Borders;
* Tim Karr, senior director of strategy for Free Press.

The Intercept reports: “Wife of CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Asks Obama to Pardon Him.”
Courthouse News reports: “The wife of jailed CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling called on President Barack Obama to pardon her husband Wednesday, delivering a petition for his freedom to the White House."
Quotes from the news conference:
Cornel West: “Never in the history of this nation has there been a black person who had the courage to fight racial discrimination against the CIA, never in the history of this nation has there been a black man in the White House that would allow him to go to jail unjustly. Two black men, one in power, one dealing with the arbitrary uses of power of that president. Shame on you, President Obama.”
Jesselyn Radack: “The Obama administration has presided over the most draconian crackdown on national security and intelligence community whistleblowers in U.S. history. The Justice Department has used the antiquated Espionage Act as a bludgeon to threaten, silence and imprison whistleblowers for alleged mishandling of classified information. Meanwhile, powerful, politically-connected individuals accused of the same conduct receive a slap on the wrist, or no punishment at all. Some even run for President of the U.S.”
Radack continued: “Using the Espionage Act against whistleblowers is grossly unfair. Courts have held that the government does not have to prove any harm to national security and does not have to prove any bad intent on the whistleblower’s part. Classification rules mean large parts of the trials, including Sterling’s, are conducted in secret — shielded from media and public scrutiny.
“Sterling’s conviction is a gross miscarriage of justice.
“The Espionage Act case against Sterling was the first — and so far only case — handed over to a jury and the unjust result epitomizes the wrongheadedness of using the Espionage Act against whistleblowers. …
“Jeffrey Sterling is a whistleblower. Sterling is a whistleblower because in 2003, he met with staff from the Senate Intelligence Committee to raise concerns about a botched [CIA] nuclear operation called Merlin. Sterling’s case is reminiscent of that of my clients: NSA whistleblowers Thomas Drake, Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Ed Loomis. My clients also used internal government channels, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, to report misconduct and became the targets of a federal criminal leak investigation for a news story by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and presidential pariah James Risen that they had nothing to do with.”
See special coverage of the Sterling trial at ExposeFacts.org.

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