Joining Scheer Intelligence former CIA agent and torture program whistleblower John Kiriakou talks with host Robert Scheer. Following this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Scheer and Kiriakou use the occasion to bring attention to Sam Pollard’s MLK/FBI film, the deep state and the state of surveillance today.
Kiriakou addresses both the history of the intelligence community as well as their contemporary image, rife with MSNBC and CNN appearances, as Scheer points out. Though attempts to bring accountability to these agencies have crept up, like Republicans in Congress attempting to create a spin-off of the Church Committee from 1975, which sought to investigate the misconduct of intelligence agencies; Kiriakou says it is nothing like the original committee. Frank Church’s congressional committee “was bipartisan in nature with intellectual heavyweights on both sides, looking at crimes being committed by the deep state… mean[ing] the CIA, the FBI, NSA, the Department of the Army and associated intelligence organizations,” says Kiriakou.
Instead, Kiriakou contends that intelligence agencies now are even more dangerous and in need of accountability given their technological prowess. “Technology has improved. It's improved in ways that our political figures of the 1960s couldn't have even fathomed… We know, thanks to the Vault 7 revelations, that the CIA can take over any computer, even remotely, anywhere in the world and use it against you. They can do the same with your phone. They can, even when it's off, turn it into a microphone to listen to anything that you're saying.”
In regards to Martin Luther King Jr., Kiriakou points to the FBI’s sneaky surveillance practices and callousness when King was assassinated as indicators of their selfish and unlawful goals. “There are a lot of people, including African-American leaders, national leaders and family members of Martin Luther King, who believe that James Earl Ray was innocent and that the killer was either the FBI or somebody working on behalf of the FBI,” says Kiriakou.