CIA fires officer for secret prisons leak
April 22, 2006
WASHINGTON: The Central Intelligence Agency has dismissed an intelligence officer for leaking classified information, which was basis for newspaper reports that CIA ran secret prisons for terrorist suspects abroad.
A CIA spokesperson refused to give details of the dismissed officer citing privacy law. But the officer has been identified in news reports as Mary McCarthy, who had worked in the inspector general's office of the agency.
As per public records available, McCarthy had served as a special assistant to former President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush from 1996 to 2001. She had been a senior director for intelligence programs on the White House National Security Council staff and appeared before the commission that inquired into the September 11 attacks.
The CIA said the dismissal follows a three-month-long in-house investigation. Normally, dismissal of an officer over a media leak is rather rare for the CIA.
The story, reported by Washington Post, had based the contents on CIA sources. It said CIA ran secret prisons for terrorism suspects in foreign countries, including Eastern Europe. The report created international reaction to U.S. policies on detainees and also won the correspondent a Pulitzer Prize.
The CIA spokesperson, while refusing to go into details of the identity of the officer, said, "This CIA officer acknowledged having unauthorized discussions with the media in which the officer knowingly shared classified intelligence, including operational information."
These actions violated a secrecy agreement that CIA employees sign when they begin working for the agency, he added.
The report had led CIA director Porter Goss to tell the Congress that the leaks had caused severe damage to U.S. intelligence operations and that he wanted to see journalists are forced to reveal their sources.
The agency is known to have conducted polygraphs in January for intelligence officers, including McCarthy, and she was confronted about answers given to the polygraph examiner and had confessed to the act.
The CIA spokesperson said the concerned CIA officer was stripped of security clearance and escorted out of the CIA headquarters on Thursday.