No one who has had the misfortune of being incarcerated in the U.S. prison system can say that it was a cakewalk. But one thing John Kiriakou realized early on is that the very system that failed him is the same one that gave him training to survive better than most during his prison time.
From his refusal to address prison wardens and guards as “Sir” to being able to discern the lies in almost all of the communications he engaged in with prison staff and officials, John’s training as a CIA counterterrorism operations officer gave him a perspective of strength. His career in the CIA was no lightweight experience and it served him well.
As John says in the Epilogue of his first book, The Reluctant Spy,
You never leave the CIA, not really. You may resign in mid-career, as I did, or you may spend a lifetime working in its service, but the Agency always remains a presence in your life. How could it not? The CIA, preferring to operate in government’s invisible corridors, has become a lightning rod for unwanted attention over the six-plus decades since its founding. Its tightly wound culture both cements and fractures friendships, depending on the circumstances. It is a force that tugs at the sleeve of former employees, gently but insistently, even though you may have moved on.
What were improper and inappropriate manipulations of John Kiriakou, the Whistleblower, through maneuvers that were designed to break him, only made him stronger. And now a voice for change, a force for good, John Kiriakou shares his experience in prison from a perspective that no one could have imagined.
Doing Time Like a Spy is John’s account of how he used 20 life lessons the CIA taught him to “survive and thrive” in prison. It is a humorous, and still serious, account of day-to-day prison life, of the challenges all prisoners face, and of how John overcame the obstacles thrown in his path.
Here’s what people are saying about Doing Time Like a Spy:
With a touch of humor and more than a bit of irony, Kiriakou sheds light on the sad reality that his CIA training amply prepared him to thrive in a US prison. What should outrage the rest of us is that Kiriakou was in prison at all! In fact, Kiriakou’s gentleness is on full display in this book—which makes his circumstances more understandable and outrageous at the same time. And it causes me to ask, ‘How can we ever call it a ‘Justice’ system when an act of conscience that exposes US state crimes is punished and not those who authorized the crimes?’ — Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
John Kiriakou has done things the hard way, standing up to federal authority for years. The CIA couldn’t silence him when, after fifteen years as an analyst and operations officer, he said the CIA was torturing its prisoners, an act of heroism that cost him two years of his freedom. The Bureau of Prisons couldn’t silence him when, wrongly-confined, he exposed waste, fraud, abuse, and illegality in the prison system in a series of blogs that put him under constant threat of solitary confinement. And he did it all without losing his sense of humor. Doing Time Like a Spy is a must read. — Daniel Ellsberg, whistleblower and author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
Kiriakou confidently portrays himself as a larger-than-life survivor type, justifiably proud of his stance against CIA-sanctioned torture. Doing Time Like a Spy is an irreverent and unsettling footnote to the war on terror. — Kirkus Reviews