Saturday, April 22, 2006

One Man’s Leak…

From the New York Times:

The Central Intelligence Agency has dismissed a senior career officer for disclosing classified information to reporters, including material for Pulitzer Prize-winning articles in The Washington Post about the agency’s secret overseas prisons for terror suspects, intelligence officials said Friday.

The C.I.A. would not identify the officer, but several government officials said it was Mary O. McCarthy, a veteran intelligence analyst who until 2001 was senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council, where she served under President Bill Clinton and into the Bush administration.

[…]

The C.I.A.’s inquiry focused in part on identifying Ms. McCarthy’s role in supplying information for a Nov. 2, 2005, article in The Post by Dana Priest, a national security reporter. The article reported that the intelligence agency was sending terror suspects to clandestine detention centers in several countries, including sites in Eastern Europe.

She also gave $2,000 to the John Kerry campaign in 2004 which, in the eyes of some, makes her a complete traitor.

As others have noted, it’s perfectly okay — in fact, it’s their bounden duty — for the administration to leak information to the press when it helps the president make his political opponents look bad, but a national security issue when a senior CIA official leaks information that puts the administration in an embarrassing spot. That fits neatly into the Richard Nixon defense: “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”

Update: Former CIA officer Larry Johnson has his thoughts on Mary McCarthy, his former boss.