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Doing Time Like a Spy

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About the Author

John Kiriakou is a former CIA officer, former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former counterterrorism consultant for ABC News. He was responsible for the capture in Pakistan in 2002 of Abu Zubaydah, then believed to be the third-ranking official in al Qaeda. In 2007, Kiriakou blew the whistle on the CIA's torture program, telling ABC News that the CIA tortured prisoners, that torture was official U.S. government policy, and that the policy had been approved by then-President George W. Bush. He became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act -- a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of the revelation. 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," and by the inclusion of his portrait in artist Robert Shetterly's series Americans Who Tell the Truth, which features notable truth-tellers throughout American history. He won the PEN Center USA's prestigious First Amendment Award in 2015, the first Blueprint International Whistleblowing Prize for Bravery and Integrity in the Public Interest in 2016, and the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, also in 2016. Kiriakou is the author of The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror and The Convenient Terrorist: Abu Zubaydah and the Weird Wonderland of America's Secret Wars.


"Kiriakou confidently portrays himself as a larger-than-life survivor type, justifiably proud of his stance against CIA-sanctioned torture...An irreverent and unsettling footnote to the war on terror." -- Kirkus Reviews "A great memoir offers the-rest-of-the-story appeal, and when the CIA, 9/11, waterboarding, whistleblowing, scapegoating, coverups, and federal prison all factor in, the page turning reaches hyperdrive." --Foreword Reviews "Ex-CIA agent and anti-torture whistleblower Kiriakou wrote this book while serving 30 months for disclosing classified information. Part jailhouse memoir, part tradecraft manual, it shares Agency skills that kept him at the top of the prison pecking order--relevant advice for our new age of executive leaks and consequences." --The Washingtonian "An especially appreciated and uncommon contribution to our national discussion about the value of revealing governmental misconduct despite federal laws prohibiting such exposures, Doing Time Like A Spy deserves as wide an audience and readership as possible." --Midwest Book Review

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