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A Sense of Betrayal - Former CIA Officers Are Furious About the Leaking of the Identity of One of Their Ranks

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
Here's an interesting update from ABC:
A Sense of Betrayal
Former CIA Officers Are Furious About the Leaking of the Identity of One of Their Ranks

Oct. 6 ? In the shadowy world of the espionage, where the truth can endanger lives, the recent leaking of a CIA operative's name has left the intelligence community feeling enraged, bitter and betrayed.

For CIA officials who put their lives at risk to serve their country, accepting a very different, very strict code of conduct under which their families are often kept in the dark about their work, the alleged leak has come as an unwelcome shock.

As the Justice Department investigates allegations that the White House maliciously leaked the name of a CIA operative, five former CIA officials told ABCNEWS' Nightline the scandal could have far-reaching consequences for American security and the international war on terror.

In an unusual criminal investigation, the Justice Department is probing allegations that the White House revealed the name of a CIA officer after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly accused the Bush administration of exaggerating the case for war in Iraq.

The CIA agent was named in a column by Robert Novak in July, in what critics say is a breach of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, which makes the disclosure of CIA operatives' names a criminal offence.


'Kneecapping a Star Basketball Player'

But quite apart from legal issues, ex-CIA officials warn that this case has raised fears within the agency that taking a position in opposition to the current administration could lead to an agent's outing.

"This was a political act, for the first time an agency, a clandestine officer was outed for political reasons," said Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer. "[It] puts fear in other people who are undercover, that if you take a position in opposition to the White House, they'll out you."

"It's kneecapping a star basketball player," said Jim Marcinkowski, a former CIA intelligence officer. "You just can't perform like you did in the past."

Speaking to Nightline on condition of anonymity, with her voice digitally manipulated to avoid recognition, an undercover intelligence officer said the implications of the leak were grim.

"Just a few months ago, this administration went out of its way to tell us how important human intelligence is," she said. "We cannot find Saddam Hussein because we have no human intelligence. We cannot find Osama bin Laden because there is no human intelligence. And here you are, you have a case officer who is gathering human intelligence, who is running agents, and here you are exposing her and everyone that she came in contact with."

As an undercover agent, Mrs. Wilson's duties would have included recruiting agents overseas in order to gather human intelligence ? the basic, but extremely dangerous brickwork, experts say, of intelligence work.



A Matter of Safety

At a time when Washington is waging a war on terror as anti-U.S. sentiment across the Muslim world has been running at record highs, the leaking, according to Brent Cavan, could spell dangerous times ahead.

"I think it sets a precedent that will make anyone that would consider working with us think twice about it," warned the former CIA officer. "Money, status or the prestige of working for the U.S. in those capacities won't matter because you'll wind up potentially dead."

In the secretive world of intelligence-gathering that operates above ? or more accurately, below ? national laws, safety is a concern that cannot be overestimated.

In an interview with NBC's Meet the Press this weekend, Wilson said he was increasingly concerned about his wife's security posture.

The U.S. government had not offered any security measures, said Wilson, adding that a leading former CIA official had said his wife "was probably the single highest target of any possible terrorist organization or hostile intelligence service that might want to do damage."

But by all accounts, experts say the gravest threats arising from the leaking could be the networks ? including agents and informers ? who worked for Mrs. Wilson overseas.

"For folks overseas that may have had an association with Mrs. Wilson, in certain countries, there is no real protection of law," said Cavan. "The people that have dealt with Mrs. Wilson could be picked up, interrogated imprisoned or worse and I think that was thought of very lightly here."



Analysts and Undercover Agents

While Mrs. Wilson was an undercover agent, Novak has argued in a subsequent column that the fact that she is currently an analyst does not endanger her security.

But Mike Grimaldi, a former CIA analyst, maintained that when it came to safety, the distinction between working for the CIA as an analyst or an operations officer in the field made little difference.

"In covert operations, as a case officer or operations officer, you're tasked to collect particular information," he explained. "You may not know why you are collecting that, however, an analyst, their job is to look at all of the information, so by definition, an analyst would have more information than perhaps an operations officer, which, in an overseas setting would make them more of a target for hostile intelligence services."

Echoing Grimaldi's view, Caran believed the distinction between an analyst and an operative was theoretical at best and worthless at worse.

"I don't know there is a distinction worth making," he said. "As an analyst, you are still traveling oversees ? at least for temporary periods of time you need cover to operate effectively."


Politics Is Not the Point

In an election year, the political implications of the leak have received wide attention with Democrats and Republicans have contended that the case could be tainted by politics.

Republicans have charged that Wilson has worked as an unpaid adviser to Sen. John F. Kerry, offering foreign policy advice and speechwriting tips to the Democratic presidential candidate from Massachusetts. Kerry's advisers have also acknowledged that Wilson has donated $2,000 to his campaign this year.

But on their part, Democrats have noted that Attorney General John Ashcroft, who is overseeing the investigation, has had a long political relationship with President Bush's senior political adviser, Karl Rove.

According to Wilson, it was Rove who condoned the leak and directed reporters to it after it appeared in Novak's column.

But according to former intelligence officials, the Wilsons were not in breach of any CIA codes of conduct. The issue, they insist, is not politics but a grievous leakage that could have disastrous consequences for the people involved as well as the nation.

"The fact [that] you walk in the front door of the CIA does not mean you lose your political rights in this country," said Grimaldi. "The point is, it shouldn't be an issue for anyone."

The most disturbing issue for former CIA officials who put their lives at stake to serve the nation, often not even telling their families about their work, the latest incident comes as a low blow.

"It's really unfathomable," said Grimaldi. "I never thought in those sorts of terms before, but your own government, your own administration, the people that you are working to protect, come out and throw you out like that, it just ? it breaks your heart."
For the YABAs that keep rationalizing that this leak was no big deal, it looks like the experts disagree. The damage may be incalculable. So much for the Administration's commitment to fighting terrorism. At least a couple of members seem to have more pressing priorities -- political revenge.

If I were Rove, I'd be mighty uncomfortable having the CIA pissed at me. Just think of the interesting things they could leak. Bush-lite better be mending fences too. If he's at all smart, he'll turn over whoever leaked this to appease the intelligence community, even if they're his top minions.
 

BaliBabyDoc

Lifer
Jan 20, 2001
10,737
0
0
These agents need to suck it up. Nothing can threaten the Bush Empire . . . Wilson should learn his place in the world.
 

Orsorum

Lifer
Dec 26, 2001
27,626
3
81
This is all a witch-hunt by those who know no better and only know their hatred of Bush and all that is good and holy.
 

BOBDN

Banned
May 21, 2002
2,579
0
0
The consequences of this leak are mind boggling. When people start turning up dead and operations become compromised maybe then the idiots who leaked this classified info will be outed by the Bush administration the way they outed Ms. Plame.

The Bush administration knows damn well who the "senior administration officials" are. They're just hoping they can lay low long enough for the American people to forget all about it.

I sincerely hope the American people don't just let this outrage stand. But after the events of the past year or so and the reactions from our countrymen I don't have much faith in the judgement of the majority of Americans anymore.
 

Martin

Lifer
Jan 15, 2000
29,179
1
81
For some reason I am extremely skeptical that someone will be held responsible.

Bush's promise of "restoring honour and dignity to the white house" will go in the way of his "Uniter not a Divider"
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
Originally posted by: MartyTheManiak
For some reason I am extremely skeptical that someone will be held responsible.

Bush's promise of "restoring honour and dignity to the white house" will go in the way of his "Uniter not a Divider"
I don't remember where I read this, but I saw an article that started something like this, "They can't find bin Laden. They can't find Hussein. They can't find WMDs. Given they badly want to find all those things and can't, what are the chances they will find someone they don't want to find?"

 

BaliBabyDoc

Lifer
Jan 20, 2001
10,737
0
0
But, but, but . . . President Bush just said that he really wanted to find the leaker. Granted, he followed that statement with, "I doubt we will find the person that leaked."
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,978
3,758
126
Originally posted by: BaliBabyDoc
But, but, but . . . President Bush just said that he really wanted to find the leaker. Granted, he followed that statement with, "I doubt we will find the person that leaked."
Did he say 'doubt we will' or 'pray we don't'?
 

her209

No Lifer
Oct 11, 2000
56,361
8
0
they need to invoke the patriot act and put the whole bush gang on guantanamo bay
 

Tab

Lifer
Sep 15, 2002
12,145
0
71
Heh, why would the BA's be defending something like this? :p The person or persons who leaked it should be removed from any secure meetings :p
 

Looney

Lifer
Jun 13, 2000
21,941
4
0
Originally posted by: Bowfinger
Originally posted by: MartyTheManiak
For some reason I am extremely skeptical that someone will be held responsible.

Bush's promise of "restoring honour and dignity to the white house" will go in the way of his "Uniter not a Divider"
I don't remember where I read this, but I saw an article that started something like this, "They can't find bin Laden. They can't find Hussein. They can't find WMDs. Given they badly want to find all those things and can't, what are the chances they will find someone they don't want to find?"
LOL that's good. That's something like what Leno or Letterman would say.
 

Ldir

Platinum Member
Jul 23, 2003
2,184
0
0
Originally posted by: her209
they need to invoke the patriot act and put the whole bush gang on guantanamo bay
Great idea. That is what we do with people who support terrorism.
 

lozina

Lifer
Sep 10, 2001
11,710
5
0
Originally posted by: Ldir
Originally posted by: her209
they need to invoke the patriot act and put the whole bush gang on guantanamo bay
Great idea. That is what we do with people who support terrorism.
Actually I think this action constitutes treason, which is the most severe crime you can do.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,978
3,758
126
Originally posted by: lozina
Originally posted by: Ldir
Originally posted by: her209
they need to invoke the patriot act and put the whole bush gang on guantanamo bay
Great idea. That is what we do with people who support terrorism.
Actually I think this action constitutes treason, which is the most severe crime you can do.
It's not treason because you can justify it in your mind that you are destroying the real enemy, people who would go against the officially selected government of the United States. The self righteous have a right to break the law. They are a higher law, themselves. They know what the law really means and why its there. There will be no crime in not finding the leak. The leak came from God.

 

LunarRay

Diamond Member
Mar 2, 2003
9,993
1
76
If Bush can't find the 'leak' at least we know where the buck stops.. or is the piping so convoluted that the maze of conduit renders insight into its flow a matter of speculation.
 

SuperTool

Lifer
Jan 25, 2000
14,000
0
0
If Bush can't find the traitors in his own administration, then the whole administration needs to be flushed out of the white house.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,978
3,758
126
We could have our interrogators in Pakistan question the six news people. I know they won't reveal sources, but they just might in Pakistan. Temperature differences sometimes loosen tongues.
 

Wolfdog

Member
Aug 25, 2001
187
0
0
Supertool takes the giant "right on" from me. Acceptance is condonance, and if the people aren't found, then it is the leaders fault. Put them all in jail. Then again take the reporters into custody and ship them over to the middle east. They have less tolerance of this kind of thing over there, and surely could get them to give up thier sources. Then come back over here in the US and drag out the entire administration in shackles, like the criminals they really are.
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
Originally posted by: SuperTool
If Bush can't find the traitors in his own administration, then the whole administration needs to be flushed out of the white house.
Agreed. It's about time Bush started accepting responsibility -- or at least being held accountable -- for the actions of his administration.
 

Ldir

Platinum Member
Jul 23, 2003
2,184
0
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I am surprised they haven't blamed this on Clinton. Or Wesley Clark.
 

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