Former CIA Jeffrey Sterling Wins 2020 Sam Adams Award

“Operation Merlin is the perfect example of powerful bureaucratic interests running amok and creating the intelligence necessary to justify their operations. The net result is that Jeffrey Sterling was unjustly imprisoned and that the United States has gone down a path of Iran policy that poses serious – and unnecessary – threats to American security.”

Gareth Porter — Independent journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism

“The CIA advised that on February 24, 2003, it was contacted by Mark Zaid and Roy Krieger. They told the CIA on February 24 that a client of theirs [Jeffrey Sterling] had contacted them on February 21, 2003, and that that client, that unnamed client at the time voiced his concerns about an operation that was nuclear in nature, and he threatened to go to the media.”

Ashley Hunt — FBI witness at the Jeffrey Sterling trial

“Because he just formed a new whistleblower group with John Napier Tye, there as been renewed interest in allegations an FBI Agent made during the Jeffrey Sterling case about attorney Mark Zaid. But there was actually a second detail regarding Zaid released just after the trial that has not been publicly reported: Zaid was interviewed by the FBI, twice, and was even interviewed before Sterling himself was.”

Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel

January 14 2020 — Jeffrey Alexander Sterling is an American lawyer and former CIA employee who was arrested, charged, and convicted of violating the Espionage Act for revealing details about Operation Merlin to journalist James Risen. Today marks the fifth anniversary of the eerie beginning of Sterling’s trial for espionage.  He was convicted of espionage charges on January 26, 2015. The only evidence against him was “metadata”, that is content-less circumstantial evidence. Tomorrow, Jeffrey Sterling will receive the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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The story of Jeffrey Sterling is filled with mysteries. Many aspects of this affair — beside Operation MERLIN itself — should be investigated by serious journalists.

I would suggest four areas of investigations:

1 — How did Jeffrey Sterling become the centre of the FBI investigation?

2 — Is it possible that Sterling was betrayed by his own lawyer?

3 — And/Or could it be that the CIA was monitoring US congress emails regarding whistleblowers?

4 — Considering what we now know about the true reason of the CIA debacle in China, is it possible that the CIA went after Sterling to hide the truth about their crappy covert communication system that was previously used in Iran?

I would think that MSM journalists would research these stories… But obviously, they do not. Why on earth not?


Jeffrey Alexander Sterling is an American lawyer and former CIA employee who was arrested, charged, and convicted of violating the Espionage Act for revealing details about Operation Merlin to journalist James Risen. Sterling denies the charges.

The case against him is circumstantial. (There is evidence that Sterling and Risen have called each other. Risen has of course dozens of contacts at the CIA.)

Sterling joined the CIA on May 14, 1993. In 1995, he became operations officer in the Iran task force of the CIA’s Near East and South Asia division.

On December 22, 2010, U.S. attorney Neil H. MacBride filed an indictment against Jeffrey Alexander Sterling on the Unlawful Retention and Unauthorized Disclosure of National Defense Information, Mail Fraud, Unauthorized Conveyance of Government Property, and Obstruction of Justice. Sterling was arrested on January 6, 2011.

Sterling was convicted of espionage charges on January 26, 2015

On 11 May 2015, Sterling was sentenced to 3½ years in prison and thus set for release in 2018.

On August 11 2016, Jeffrey Sterling filed a health complaint against Colorado federal correctional institution.

December 2016 — Jeffrey’s appellate hearing took place in early December 2016. “His attorneys did a phenomenal job and there were some pointed questions asked by at least one judge.”

June 22, 2017 — The appellate court upheld all but one of Jeffrey’s convictions.

January 16 2018 — Jeffrey Sterling was released from prison to a halfway house, ahead of the original end date of his 3.5 year prison sentence on June 14, 2018.

On February 14 2018, Jeffrey Sterling was sent home for the rest of his sentence.

Former CIA John Kiriakou Explains The Jeffrey Sterling Case


US – RSF hails upcoming release of Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling to halfway house

Prison Officials Respond to CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling’s Health Complaint — Intel Today

I Was a CIA Whistleblower. Now I’m a Black Inmate. Here’s How I See American Racism. The Intercept Sept. 13 2016

Appeals Court Scrutinizes Ex-CIA Officer’s Leak Conviction — ABC News

Appeals court affirms most convictions of ex-CIA officer convicted in leak case — WaPo

In Opinion Mostly Rejecting Jeffrey Sterling Appeal, Fourth Circuit Criminalizes Unclassified Tips — emptywheel

Jeffrey Sterling, Convicted of Leaking About Botched CIA Program, Has Been Released From Prison — The Intercept


Former CIA Jeffrey Sterling Wins 2020 Sam Adams Award

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