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Extended Audio Sample The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror, by John Kiriakou Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 5 3.75 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Kiriakou Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Long before the waterboarding controversy exploded in the media, one CIA agent had already gone public. In a groundbreaking 2007 interview with ABC News, John Kiriakou called waterboarding torture—but admitted that it probably worked. This book, at once a confessional, an adventure story, and a chronicle of Kiriakou’s life in the CIA, stands as an important, eloquent piece of testimony from a committed American patriot.

In February 2002, Kiriakou was the head of counterterrorism in Pakistan. Under his command, in a spectacular raid coordinated with Pakistani agents and the CIA’s best intelligence analyst, Kiriakou’s field officers took down the infamous terrorist Abu Zubaydah. For days, Kiriakou became the wounded terrorist’s personal “bodyguard.” In circumstances stranger than fiction, as al-Qaeda agents scoured the streets for their captured leader, the best trauma surgeon in America was flown to Pakistan to make sure that Zubaydah did not die.

In The Reluctant Spy, Kiriakou takes us into the fight against an enemy fueled by fanaticism. He chillingly describes what it was like inside the CIA headquarters on the morning of 9/11, the agency leaders who stepped up, and those who protected their careers. And in what may be the book’s most shocking revelation, he describes how the White House made plans to invade Iraq a full year before the CIA knew about it—or could attempt to stop it.

Chronicling both mind-boggling mistakes and heroic acts of individual courage, The Reluctant Spy is essential listening for anyone who wishes to understand the inner workings of the United States intelligence apparatus, the truth behind the torture debate, and the incredible dedication of ordinary men and women doing one of the most extraordinary jobs on earth.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Retired CIA agent Kiriakou tells an engrossing story and delivers some strong opinions…[Readers] will enjoy a mostly admiring portrait of the CIA but with telling critiques of its bureaucracy and of Congress’s meddling in CIA affairs.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Christine | 10/8/2010

    " John Kiriakou gives the inside dirt on working for the CIA. He tells lots of interesting stories that happened throughout his career and does lots of namedropping. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Liz | 7/17/2010

    " Not a big fan of this book. The author seems to be trashing the government for EVERYTHING that has effected this mans life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Linda | 7/2/2010

    " Couldn't get past Kiriakou's enormous ego. He's like a used car salesman; slick and smarmy, and explosive at inappropriate times. I was interested in the operational and policy issues, but could have done without the custody battles and self-aggrandizement. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Zelda | 4/14/2010

    " Sounds true to me in describing author's career in the CIA and his frustrations with the department. "

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About the Author

John Kiriakou is a senior investigator on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, focusing on the Middle East, South Asia, and international terrorism. He served in the Central Intelligence Agency from 1990 to 2004, first as an analyst and later as a counterterrorism operations officer. He was later named executive assistant to the CIA’s Associate Deputy Director for Operations, in which capacity he was intimately involved in planning the Iraq War. His op-eds on the Middle East and Afghanistan have appeared in more than eighty newspapers in dozens of countries.