A former CIA officer described as the latest victim of the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers has issued a scathing open letter to civil rights groups asking, “Where were you?”
In the letter published at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jeffrey Sterling, who is black, specifically calls out the NAACP, National Action Network, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and Congressional Black Caucus, writing “I saw you when other black faces were either killed or mistreated.” But, to these civil rights groups, he writes, he is “invisible.”
In a case that relied on circumstantial evidence, Sterling was convicted in January on nine separate felony charges, including seven counts of espionage.
He was given a 42-month sentence in May, which Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and coordinator of whistleblower advocacy organization ExposeFacts.org, described as “the continuation of a war on whistleblowing and journalism, to clamp down on the absolutely essential flow of information for democracy.”
As torture whistleblower John Kiriakou previously explained, Sterling “didn’t sell secrets to the Russians. He didn’t trade intelligence for personal gain.” He continues:
He reported to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the CIA had botched an operation to feed false information about nuclear technology to Iran — and may have actually helped Iran’s enrichment program instead.
Largely based on this, the government accused Sterling of leaking details about the program to journalist James Risen, who wrote about it in his book State of War.
Even worse, the feds claimed that Sterling, who is black, did it out of resentment over a failed racial discrimination lawsuit against the agency — in effect using Sterling’s willingness to stand up for his rights against him.
“Where were you when I, one of the first black officers to do so, filed a discrimination suit against the Central Intelligence Agency?” Sterling asks in his letter.
“Where were you when the justice system of the United States dismissed my discrimination suit because the U.S. government maintained that trying my suit would endanger national security?”
He goes on to ask: “Where were you when the United States put me — the only person and only black face investigated over a 10-year period of time — on trial in federal court on Espionage Act charges, claiming that I am a traitor to national security?”
The Missouri native refers to the groups’ presence in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown, but says that the his own injustices have been largely ignored by the civil rights groups.
“I am now in prison for a crime I did not commit,” he writes. “Where are you?”