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Kiriakou pleaded guilty Oct. 23 to one count of violating the law by disclosing the name of a CIA officer to a journalist.

The statement of facts in the case reveals that after Kiriakou disclosed the identity of the undercover CIA officer, the name was disclosed to lawyers representing al Qaeda terrorists in the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The CIA officer had been an interrogator, and Kiriakou was part of the lawyers’ plan to use possible disclosure of the identity of CIA interrogators in their legal defense during tribunals.

Kiriakou is seen by supporters as a victim of overzealous anti-media prosecutors. But intelligence and security officials said his role in the disclosure of CIA officers to al Qaeda terrorists was not whistleblowing. “He is a real bad actor,” said one official.

Senators who have campaigned against intelligence leaks are expected to question Mr. Kerry about hiring Kirakou during any future nomination hearing.

CIA anger at Kirakou was reflected in a statement by then-CIA Director David H. Petraeus, who said the prosecution “marks an important victory for our agency, for our intelligence community, and for our country.”

Kyl bids farewell

Sen. Jon Kyl signed off Wednesday from the Senate after 18 years in office. The retiring Arizona Republican will be missed by colleagues who view him as one of the most experienced national security leaders in the chamber.

“I have tried to follow the Reagan legacy of pursuing peace through strength,” Mr. Kyl said in a farewell address. “As President Reagan once said, ‘Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because America was too strong.’”

Mr. Kyl said American strength is urgently needed to safeguard democratic values around the world. To meet current challenges, the U.S. needs strong military capabilities to deal with four issues: nuclear arms modernization, missile defenses, terrorist threats and transnational law.

Mr. Kyl took issue with President Obama’s nuclear policies: “For the first time in the history of U.S. nuclear policy, the president has placed nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, rather than nuclear deterrence, atop the U.S. nuclear agenda.”

However, the senator said treaties and unilateral actions on nuclear disarmament will not address nuclear dangers and are troubling U.S. allies dependent on nuclear power.

“We should think very carefully, therefore, before we contemplate any changes to long-standing U.S. nuclear deterrence policies, or pursue further reductions, in support of the president’s disarmament agenda,” he said. “We absolutely cannot know for certain that fewer numbers of weapons will make us safer.”

Mr. Kyl also warned against Russian efforts to limit U.S. missile defenses, calling it one of the “greatest challenges we face today.”

“The United States cannot allow Russia to dictate to us limits on the capabilities of U.S. missile defenses,” he said. “If they could be effective against a Russian launch, so be it. That’s what it means to protect Americans from potential threats. If the Russians argue that they pose no possible threat, then our missile defense should be irrelevant to them.”