Northrop Grumman Accused of Fueling False ‘Revenge Porn’ Allegations against CIA Whistleblower
(June 16, 2020) — Northrop Grumman, the third largest military contractor in the world, was allegedly involved in falsely accusing CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou of “revenge porn.”
The false accusation allegedly resulted in his arrest, improper charges, and a police raid that violated his privacy rights. A civil lawsuit further claims the false accusation contributed to the “loss of contact” with his three children, who are eight, 13, and 15 years old.
He seeks damages from Northrop, John Bamford, an Arlington County police detective, and his ex-wife Heather Kiriakou.
In 2007, Kiriakou was one of the first CIA officers to publicly acknowledge that torture was official United States policy under President George W. Bush. His outspokenness on torture led the government to target him with a leak prosecution under the Espionage Act.
He pled guilty in 2012 to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), when he confirmed the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter.
Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. He was incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institution Loretto in Pennsylvania, nearly 200 miles away from his children.
He is currently a co-host of the “Loud and Clear” radio program on Sputnik, a writer whose work is regularly featured at Consortium News, and an author of four books, including his most recent book, The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis.
Much of his commentary involves advocacy that is critical of United States foreign policy, which may directly challenge Northrop’s business interests.
According to the complaint [PDF], Heather was allegedly involved in an affair with a Northrop executive.
John contacted Northrop’s ethics office in July 2018 to inform them that he “possessed documents” showing Heather, a director of global business development at Northrop, and an executive “fraudulently billed” the company for “business travel.” However, they were engaged in “tens of thousands of dollars” of “personal travel” that involved cheating on him.
The ethics office allegedly “instructed” John to transmit the documents he claimed he possessed, but subsequently, Northrop shared the documents with Heather and engaged in retaliation.
On August 9, 2019, John Bamford, a detective with the Arlington County Police Department, arrested and charged John Kiriakou with “two counts of illegal dissemination of photographs.” Bamford obtained search warrants on October 11 for John’s person, vehicles, and home to investigate accusations of “revenge porn” that were apparently false.
The lawsuit contends Bamford knew the search warrants violated the Fourth Amendment because they were not supported by evidence of “revenge porn.”
John’s home was raided on October 15, and Bamford allegedly violated his constitutional rights when he detained and searched John with an “army of two dozen Arlington County Police and FBI officers nearby.”
Over seven and a half hours, electronics and other items from John’s home were apparently inventoried and seized.
A 2016 Vespa LXV scooter was impounded for three weeks before authorities finally returned it.
The photos showed Heather in a bikini with a thong-style bottom. They were taken by Heather, and they were in emails to “her Northrop Grumman lover,” according to the complaint.
“Heather Kiriakou’s motivations for her knowing, intentional, false, and malicious accusation was to secure a litigating advantage in a pending child custody dispute with plaintiff, to diminish her sense of guilt over her adultery, and to retaliate against plaintiff for exposing her adulterous affair in the course of whistleblowing on defendant’s business travel fraud via Northrop’s ethics hotline,” the complaint argues.
The charges were dismissed on March 16 after a judge barred him from seeing his children.
John Kiriakou is seeking damages for “severe emotional distress” including loss of contact with his children, “acute depression requiring psychiatric care,” and “alienation from friends and professional colleagues.”
Bruce Fein, an attorney representing John, told Shadowproof he took on this case because he was somewhat involved in helping John when the CIA and Justice Department “had a problem” with him.
He feels John has been “totally, completely maltreated by the justice system,” and it is time for relief.
“This is one way he can have justice vindicated.”
With regard to Northrop’s alleged actions—and inaction, Fein said, “This is the no good deed goes unpunished standard in Washington, D.C.”
The ethics office was willing to take anything and “investigate” it.
“And they turn around, and if you want to create a chilling effect, this is what you do. Submit it, you follow our directions, and we come back and get you,” Fein added.
As Fein acknowledged, they may learn more in discovery. But it appears once Northrop obtained documents from John they shared the information with Heather.
She turned around and falsely accused John of “revenge porn,” and the military contractor never acted on any evidence of fraud.
Northrop Grumman has a history of whistleblower retaliation.
In 2009, the military contractor settled a whistleblower lawsuit for $325 million. It was the largest military contractor settlement at the time.
The corporation retaliated against a scientist named Robert Ferro, when he tried to reveal how “faulty electronic components” were sold to the US government for “military and intelligence-gathering satellites.”
Paul Solomon audited Northrop’s subcontract for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Air System Program.
Solomon was removed from the program in 2007 after he discovered Northrop, along with Lockeed Martin, were “concealing from the government the true cost overruns” of the project.
Back in 1989, James Holzrichter worked for a division of the corporation in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.
He uncovered evidence that showed the contractor was “falsely inflating its materials costs” to increase government reimbursements.
When he confronted executives, Northrop fired and blacklisted him.
Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, “Unauthorized Disclosure.”
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.