US charges ''Reluctant Spy'' author with leaking secrets to journalists

US charges ''Reluctant Spy'' author with leaking secrets to journalists Washington, Jan. 24 : A former CIA officer who helped capture senior Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan was charged on Monday with disclosing classified information to journalists, including the name of a covert US intelligence officer.

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, author of ''The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror,'' now faces up to 30 years in prison and a one million dollar fine for the alleged disclosure, the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) reports.

Kiriakou is charged with one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act for allegedly revealing the identity of a covert official. He is charged with two counts of violating the Espionage Act for allegedly revealing that a particular CIA official was associated with the agency's secret rendition, detention, and interrogation program.

He is also charged with lying to the CIA's publications review board for trying to publish classified information in a submitted manuscript by falsely claiming that he'd simply made the information up.

The case is unusual because it is an effort by the Obama administration to prosecute a former government official suspected of leaking sensitive information to the news media. Such cases are rare.

It also stands in contrast to the Justice Department's decision not to seek criminal charges against intelligence officials who violated a court order and destroyed recordings of the harsh interrogation of high value terror suspects.

Kiriakou, a resident of Arlington, Virginia, appeared in federal court in Alexandria and was ordered released on a 250,000 dollar bond.

Kiriakou served in the Central Intelligence Agency from 1990 to 2004. (ANI)