Whistleblower Attorney Mark Zaid Criticized for Poor Track-record

Carlos Hermosillo | @broofbros1

Mark Zaid, the DC lawyer who successfully sued Libya for $2.7 billion, is now the prime attorney for the Eric Ciaramella scandal. Zaid was named a top-rated lawyer from 2009-2019 by SuperLawyers for his work. Recently, he has defended whistleblowers, while books and other manuscripts go through the pre-publication and classification review process.

Mr. Zaid is behind the James Madison Project, which aims to “promote government accountability and the reduction of secrecy”. He also heads the Whistleblower Aid Organization, which John Kiriakou (the CIA officer who admitted to the public the horrific US torture scandal) has warned whistleblowers against. Many whistleblowers, however, that have dealt with Zaid, have expressed concerns over his work. Their opinions differ from the public view of the notorious lawyer.

Zaid’s Preceding Cases

Kevin Shipp, an established veteran ex-CIA officer, was represented by Zaid in an incident with his former job. He has since expressed past grievances with the way Zaid handled the trail.

“I parted ways with him, because he was just doing basically nothing, and charging me thousands of dollars knowing that he was going to lose the case. We parted amicably, but we parted.”  – Kevin Shipp

Shipp joins Wikileaks and John Kiriakou to discuss the possibility that Mark Zaid might not have the best interests for the anti-establishment clients. Both Shipp and Kiriakou do not believe that the suspected whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella, is a legitimate whistleblower. Instead, they believe that he is a possible political “plant” during discussions.

Zaid’s own Tweets do not seem to be very supportive of anti-establishment whistleblowers:

Operation Merlin

Jeffrey Sterling was convicted under the Espionage Act by the Obama administration, as one of James Risen’s sources for his book “State of War”. The book revealed the botching of Operation Merlin. Mark Zaid and Roy Krieger were Sterling’s attornies.

During the trial, FBI investigator and witness Ashley Hunt was questioned on a CIA report that helped to direct her investigation:

“A. 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 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.

Q. Did you later learn who that client was from Mr. Zaid and Mr. Krieger in the course of your investigation?

A. I did.

Q. Did those facts help you focus on the direction of your investigation?

A. They did.

Q. And who did you learn was the client of Mr. Krieger and Mr. Zaid?

A. Jeffrey Sterling.”

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

“I would never want to be a whistleblower in the national security field, I know what they go through. It’s terrible. They feel abandoned, pressured, attacked.” Mark Zaid

John Kiriakou wrote of his experience with Zaid:

“Zaid briefly represented me in 2007, immediately after I blew the whistle. But I fired him after two weeks because he was impulsive, unnecessarily confrontational and untrustworthy. Four years later, he was representing Matthew Cole, the ‘journalist’ who was secretly working for the Guantanamo defense attorneys, the man who ratted me out to the FBI, which led to my arrest and to two years in prison. Cole told the FBI that I was his source who told him the name of a CIA officer involved in the torture program.

Not only did Zaid represent Cole, but both he and Cole testified against me in grand jury proceedings in 2012. How this man still has a law license is an utter mystery to me.”

So far The Intercept has been involved in at least four whistleblower arrests – John Kiriakou, Reality Winner, Terry Albury, and Daniel Hale.

Furthermore, Zaid also represented Patrick Eddington in 1996. Eddington is responsible for leaking the CIA and Pentagon suppression of the Gulf War Syndrome. He later wrote against Zaid’s support of Barrack Obama’s whistleblower ‘protection’ laws.

Former FBI Special Agent Robyn Gritz contacted Mark Zaid’s group to assist in her case against the Bureau’s corruption and discrimination; Zaid declined. Gritz explained to 71Republic why whistleblowers still go to Zaid.

“[Zaid] is still representing himself as a fighter for whistleblowers. There are those who used him in the past and did well… I believe after the recent tweets that were revealed, whistleblowers will go elsewhere.” – Robyn Gritz


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