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July 27, 2005

Perspective on CIA Leaks

Interesting post by Stephen Spruiell at his Media Blog on NRO this morning. He recently interviewed retired Navy Admiral Bobby R. Inman, former DNSC and DDCIA about his feelings about the CIA leaks last year, specifically the Plame fiasco. He had some interesting comments, starting off with something that the media is ignoring about last year:

"I was utterly appalled during the 2004 election cycle at the number of clearly politically motivated leaks from intelligence organizations — mostly if not all from CIA — that appeared to me to be the most crass thing I had ever seen to influence the outcome of an election. I never saw it quite as harsh as it was. And clearing books to be published anonymously — there was no precedent for it. I started getting telephone calls from CIA retirees when Bush appointed Negroponte, talking about how vindictive the administration was in trying to punish CIA, and I was again sort of dismayed by the effort to play politics including with information that was classified. What is the impact on younger workers who see the higher-ups engaged in this kind of leaking?

Johnny Walker was probably the single most devastating spy to the Navy, maybe the country, and when he was caught he was asked, "Why did you do it?" He was working communications on the staff of a submarine and he owned a bar that was going broke, so he needed the money. He said one day he had handled and decoded a classified message and sent it off, and the next day he read the contents on the front page of the Washington Post. He said, “Well, if others are doing it, why shouldn’t I?”"

His response about Plame:

"[The leaking of Plame's identity] is still one I would rather not see, but she was working in an analytical organization, and there’s nothing that precludes anyone from identifying analytical officers. I watch all the hand-wringing over the ruining of careers… there are a lot of operatives whose covers are blown. It doesn’t mean the end of their careers. Many move to the analytical world, which is where she already was. It meant she couldn’t deploy back off to Africa, but nothing I’ve seen indicated that was possible in the first place."

Pretty interesting stuff.

Also, Stephen is getting married this weekend, and will be taking the next two weeks off from Media Blog. Congratulations and get back soon!


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