Doing Time Like a Spy
by john kiriakou
On February 28, 2013, after pleading guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, John Kiriakou began serving a thirty month prison sentence. His crime: blowing the whistle on the CIA's use of torture on Al Qaeda prisoners.
Doing Time Like A Spy is Kiriakou's memoir of his twenty-three months in prison. Using twenty life skills he learned in CIA operational training, he was able to keep himself safe and at the top of the prison social heap. Including his award-winning blog series "Letters from Loretto," Doing Time Like a Spy is at once a searing journal of daily prison life and an alternately funny and heartbreaking commentary on the federal prison system.
Rare Bird Books
Hardcover, May 16 2017: ISBN: 978-1-945572-41-8
US $26.95 | Nonfiction / Memoir
John Kiriakou is a former CIA officer, former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former counterterrorism consultant for ABC News.
In 2002, Kiriakou became the chief of counterterrorism operations in Pakistan, where he led a CIA team in the March 2002 raid and capture of Abu Zubaydah, then thought to be al-Qaeda's third-ranking official.
Following Abu Zubaydah's capture, Kiriakou became Executive Assistant to the CIA's Deputy Director for Operations, where he served as the Director of Central Intelligence's principal Iraq briefer.
Kiriakou left the CIA in March 2004. He later served as a senior investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as senior intelligence advisor to Committee Chairman Senator John Kerry. Kiriakou also authored a bestselling book, "The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror," and worked as an intelligence consultant for ABC News.
Throughout his career, Kiriakou received 12 CIA Exceptional Performance Awards, the CIA's Sustained Superior Performance Award, the Counterterrorism Service Medal, and the State Department's Meritorious Honor Award.
In 2007, Kiriakou appeared on ABC News, during which he became the first CIA officer to confirm that the CIA waterboarded detainees, and he labeled waterboarding as “torture.” Kiriakou's interview revealed that this practice was official U.S. policy approved at the highest levels of the government.
The government began investigating Kiriakou immediately after his media appearance. Five years later, he was charged with multiple felonies resulting from his whistleblowing. He became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act - a law designed to punish spies.
Eventually, in order to avoid a trial that could have resulted in separation from his wife and five children for up to 45 years, he opted to plead guilty to one count of a reduced charge in exchange for a 30-month sentence.
In 2012 Kiriakou was honored with the Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage, an award given to individuals who “advance truth and justice despite the personal risk it creates.” Two days prior to sentencing, he was honored by inclusion of his portrait in artist Robert Shetterly's series "Americans Who Tell the Truth," which features notable truth-tellers throughout American history.
Kiriakou reported to federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania on February 28, 2013 to serve his sentence, where he continued to speak out in a series of "Letters from Loretto," including his first, which provided a stunning portrait of prison life and which was covered by all major media outlets. In November 2013, the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, California honored Kiriakou as its "Peacemaker of the Year." He was awarded the prestigious PEN First Amendment Award from the PEN Center USA in August 2015 and the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence in September 2016.
He was released from prison in February 2015.