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CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Recounts How Prison Gave Him Wrong Medication in New Letter From Loretto

John Kiriakou

In a letter from CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who has been serving a prison sentence in a federal correctional facility in Loretto, Pennsylvania for over a year, he recounts how he had a medical emergency in the prison and received virtually none of the appropriate care or treatment that a person should typically receive. The medical emergency also apparently stemmed from a “Physician’s Assistant” (PA) prescribing him a medication for his diabetes that only made his condition worse.

Firedoglake has been publishing “Letters from Loretto” by Kiriakou, who was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the George W. Bush administration. He was convicted in October 2012 after he pled guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he confirmed the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter. He was sentenced in January 2013, and reported to prison on February 28, 2013.

According to the letter from Kiriakou written on September 3, he had a “routine quarterly blood test” in early August because he has Type 2 diabetes. He was never informed by any person in the prison of the results of the test, however, days later, he was called to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription with the pharmacist on duty.

Kiriakou recalls the following exchange:

“What is this?” I asked. “Glyburide,” he said, as though that should mean something to me. “What’s it for?” “Diabetes,” he said. Growing worried, I asked, “Do I have a problem?” “I don’t know,” he said. “Your PA called it in. He’ll put you on call-out.” Only insulin-dependent diabetics are allowed to have testing meters so I had no idea what my blood sugar numbers were. I took the pills back to my room.

Kiriakou understood he was to take one pill each day with food. Yet, on the second day, around 2:00 am, he “woke up covered in sweat.”

“I got down off my bunk, got my bearings, and then went to my locker for a cookie. I figured my blood sugar had dropped, and I felt better almost immediately. I drank some water and went back to bed,” he recalls.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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