John Kiriakou: The ex-CIA officer turned whistle-blower

May 4, 2017

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou speaks to Al Jazeera about the US’s use of torture and his time in prison.

For 14 years, John Kiriakou worked as an analyst and case officer for the CIA, leading the team that captured senior al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002. Then, in a television interview in 2007, three years after he had resigned from the US intelligence agency, he became the first current or former member of it to publicly acknowledge that the CIA used torture, and that its use was official policy under the administration of President George W Bush.

In 2012, the Barack Obama administration filed espionage charges against him.

Those charges were eventually dropped in October of that year, but Kiriakou did plead guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by confirming the name of an officer involved in the then-secret CIA rendition programme that transferred CIA detainees to secret prison facilities around the world.

He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and released in 2015 after serving almost two years.

Kiriakou, who has written the soon-to-be-released book, Doing Time Like a Spy: How the CIA Taught Me to Survive and Thrive in Prison, talks to Al Jazeera about the US’s use of torture and his time in prison.