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Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Highlights ‘Dealing With the Stress of a Hostile System’

John Kiriakou

The second half of a third letter by former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who is serving a thirty-month sentence in the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, is being published.

Kiriakou was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the administration of President George W. Bush. He was convicted in October of last year of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he provided the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter and sentenced in January of this year. He reported to prison on February 28 (which was also the day that Pfc. Bradley Manning pled guilty to some offenses and read a statement in military court at Fort Meade).

Since Kiriakou went to prison, Firedoglake has been publishing his “Letters from Loretto.” The second half of the letter picks up where Kiriakou left off and includes an exchange he had with his father-in-law, a “prominent physician,” on losing the use of his finger, which he broke in prison. [The first half of the letter recounted how Kiriakou had broken his finger but been denied immediate medical treatment in the facility.]

His finger is now “swollen, painful, misshapen and discolored.” His father-in-law looked at his finger when he visited and told him, “You’re screwed. They should have treated this the day it happened. You’ll never recover full use of the finger and now arthritis will set in.”

“Thanks a lot. I’m lucky it wasn’t my leg that was broken, like Cameron Douglas,” Kiriakou reacts in the letter. [Actor Michael Douglas’ son had been confined in the prison facility.]

The second half shifts after a few paragraphs to focus on the “stress of a hostile system” and how it “would be impossible without a support network.” Kiriakou shares some details on friendships he has developed in prison.

Dave, a former intelligence officer, is serving a nine-year sentence and has been in jail for 18 months. Kiriakou worked with him overseas years ago and their imprisonment has led to them becoming reacquainted.

At one point, Dave went to work for a defense contractor, and “his job was to win new business in the intelligence community for his employer, which he did successfully, including getting his company accepted as one of the CIA’s preferred and vetted bidders.”

He was asked to help with a contract of which the firm was having trouble. A “facility security officer” told him he was added to the contract team and he could log on to, “Intelink,” a secure database managed by the Director of the National Intelligence (DNI). The contractor, however, had not added Dave to the contract. He accessed the database without authorized access.

“The Justice Department charged him with unauthorized access of a secure database in furtherance of national security, a felony,” Kiriakou writes. “Dave was initially offered a plea that included a 15-month prison sentence. He declined, intending to clear his name at trial. [cont’d.]

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."