Patterico's Pontifications

10/24/2012

L.A. Times: Leaking the Name of a Covert Agent: It’s OK (Not Even Worth Mentioning Your Party Affiliation, Really) If You’re a Democrat

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:18 pm



Wasn’t there something of a brouhaha about the leak of information on Valerie Plame? I seem to remember a peep or two about in the national media. Maybe even a criminal prosecution or something.

So when someone pleads to identifying a covert agent to a reporter, you can bet the L.A. Times is going to publish a major story about it. And they will tell you whether the person responsible is a Democrat or a Republican. Because dammit! The public has a right to know.

I think fair use, in this context, allows me to reprint the entirety of this L.A. Times piece. I’m not stealing their market share, and I’m making a valid criticism. Please read this story and see if any questions occur to you:

A former U.S. intelligence officer with a long history at CIA headquarters and the agency’s Counterterrorism Center pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., to a single count of disclosing information identifying a covert agent.

He faces a 30-month federal prison sentence and $250,000 fine under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

John C. Kiriakou, a CIA officer from 1990 to 2004, was charged in April with unmasking the 20-year covert agent to a Washington journalist who then shared that information with defense lawyers for terrorist detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He had also been awaiting trial on separate charges that he disclosed to two journalists the name and contact information for a CIA analyst and his undercover work in capturing Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah. Those charges were dropped in return for the guilty plea.

The 47-year old Kiriakou had served as both an intelligence officer at CIA headquarters as well as in various classified overseas assignments. He held a top secret security clearance and had regular access to national defense information. Years ago he signed a secrecy agreement and acknowledged that should he reveal certain sensitive information it could “constitute a criminal offense.”

James W. McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, called Kiriakou’s actions “a clear violation of the law.”

In an 11-page statement of facts signed by Kiriakou, he confessed that he also lied to FBI agents trying to track down the leaks, and feigned surprise when told that defense lawyers for the detainees now knew the identity of the CIA covert officer.

“Oh, my God. No,” he told the FBI. “Once they get names, I mean, this is scary.”

Eight paragraphs. No mention that the guy was a Senate staffer. More significantly, no mention of whose Senate staffer he was.

Who was the Senator who employed someone who leaked national security secrets to a reporter?

Why, somehow, that doesn’t appear in the story. And by now, with the help of the headline of this post, I’ll bet you’ve guessed why. For the dunce cap crowd, here’s The Hill:

Kiriakou, who worked for more than a year as an investigator for Sen. John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 25, 2013.

I never would have guessed!

Of course, disclosing details about covert CIA missions is no big deal to the L.A. Times. They have done it themselves.

Thanks to Robert C.J. Parry.

UPDATE: Thanks to Uppercase Matt, who corrected me on whether the L.A. Times even mentioned that the culprit was a Senate staffer at all. The post has been rewritten accordingly.

42 Responses to “L.A. Times: Leaking the Name of a Covert Agent: It’s OK (Not Even Worth Mentioning Your Party Affiliation, Really) If You’re a Democrat”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  2. But but but that’s different but but racist. STFU

    JD (8a1df4)

  3. Has Lurch been hounded by the media and asked to comment? Because that’s another thing that surely would have happened had the guy worked for a Republican senator. They would want to tar him with the staffer’s criminal actions (no matter how far in the distant past they had worked together).

    elissa (381c32)

  4. Of course the grey lady is involved, too. From The Hill:

    Kiriakou admitted to revealing the classified identity of a veteran CIA agent to a journalist, who then shared that confidential information with an attorney defending high-value detainees being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

    The DOJ stated that it has not brought any allegations of criminal misconduct against any of those defense attorneys.

    In a separate instance, Kiriakou also acknowledged that he passed secret information to a reporter from The New York Times about the identity of a CIA analyst and his work on a mission to capture Abu Zubaydah, a suspected terrorist currently being held in Guantanamo.

    Does anybody who’s been following this case know who the NYT reporter is in the Abu Zubaydah case? And is it the same journalist mentioned in the first paragraph?

    elissa (381c32)

  5. Kiriakou. (Greek) Cypriot. They cannot be trusted.

    nk (875f57)

  6. Scott Shane, he’s the Times leading Gitmo apologist

    narciso (ee31f1)

  7. OT: McCain beclowning himself on CNN about Mourdock. He wants another (R) to apologize instead of letting it go and not commenting.

    McCain’s 2008 slogan should have read Ego First, not Country. Reminds me of him harpooning Boehner’s budget deal with Obama in 2011.

    EGO FIRST!

    All these mentally retarded Republicans need to get into a room and take a PR Class. When it does not help you, say sorry, keep your mouth shut and don’t feed the media machine.

    John, STFU and mind your own business.

    Rodney King's Spirit (9ce6d4)

  8. Gee a guy who leaks classified information working for Senator Jean Fraud Kerry?

    I guess birds of a feather flock together. Or maybe this is just one more thing that Kerry has flocked up.

    Comanche Voter (29e1a6)

  9. John Kerry is a war hero… took 1/128 inch of shrapnel in his butt for his country… or maybe he sat on one of his attendance pins. Regardless, some “war heroes” are incapable of outing covert operative due to their lifetime exemption earned by “being there”… and being a Democrat… and marrying someone hugely rich (again)

    steveg (831214)

  10. One time, Kerry ‘inadvertently’ revealed the name of one of his more sympathetic operatives, Fulton Armstrong, in open hearing, where as Jim Wright did it in purpose.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  11. Has Lurch been hounded by the media and asked to comment? Because that’s another thing that surely would have happened had the guy worked for a Republican senator.

    Shame on you elissa. Don’t you know that John Kerry won something like nine Purple Hearts and was sent by Richard Nixon into a dangerous mission in Cambodia on Christmas Day armed only with a hairbrush and a bootleg recording of Bruce Springsteen’s summer show at Moe’s Tavern in South Amboy, NJ?

    And anyway, he was against Kariakou leaking before he was for it.

    JVW (f5695c)

  12. Sorry, but I don’t see anything odd about not reporting the political affiliation of someone holding an ostensibly non-political post. And as far as I can tell that is the sort of job this guy had. The people involved with Plame on the other hand were all in the political slots and so mentioning their party ties would be entirely consistent.

    Soronel Haetir (290041)

  13. Seriously, he gave the names of fellow interrogators, some of which ended up in the hands of those detainees, who have long memories,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  14. “The people involved with Plame on the other hand were all in the political slots and so mentioning their party ties would be entirely consistent.”

    Soronel – What political slots did Valerie’s husband and Dick Armitage hold?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  15. You are not suggesting there is a double standard here?

    AZ Bob (1c9631)

  16. Without a Double-Standard, the Left would have no standards at all.

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (2bb434)

  17. daleyrocks ,

    Armitage was an assistant Secretary of Defense at the time of the Plame disclosure, a position that required Senate confirmation. Without evidence to the contrary I am going to believe that any US office that requires such confirmation is political by nature. There are of course jobs that do not require Senate approval that are also political, such as the president’s direct staff, but the vast majority of federal employees are not in such political jobs.

    As for Wilson, his wikipedia page lists quite a few diplomatic posts intermixed with purely political work (such as being a staffer for Al Gore while Gore was in the Senate). Some of these posts would require Senate conformation, admittedly his were not the sexiest jobs available (such as ambassador to Gabon). While he might not have held a political post at the time of his investigative trip to Niger I would say looking at his bio that he was certainly part of the political echelon of the government.

    Kiriakou, on the other hand, as far as I can tell from the limited info I have never held any such political position. His proper role was simply to carry out whatever policy ends his bosses came up with.

    Soronel Haetir (290041)

  18. 17. Kiriakou, on the other hand, as far as I can tell from the limited info I have never held any such political position. His proper role was simply to carry out whatever policy ends his bosses came up with.

    Comment by Soronel Haetir — 10/25/2012 @ 12:14 am

    It is absurd to contend that people like Kiriakou don’t politicize their supposedly non-political jobs.

    The 2007 intelligence assessment on the state of Iran’s nuclear program, anyone? Complete political horse manure. And CIA analysts were practically crowing to the press about how and why they politicized it. They didn’t want to give Bush any help on Iran.

    It’s naive in the extreme to imagine they just implement whatever policy objectives their bosses come up with. That’s ridiculous; they attempt to drive policy. And if they fail to drive policy in their preferred direction, they attempt to sabotage the policies they disagree with.

    Which is exactly what this guy was convicted of doing, making the contention that he was apolitical false on its face.

    And yes you can get a pretty accurate read on his politics by noting who he worked for. Guys like him don’t work for people like Kerry unless they agree with and intend to do what they can to promote his policies. There’s a reason he didn’t approach somebody like James Inhofe looking for a job. And don’t kid yourself; not only are these people deeply partisan, but so are their jobs. Their job is to be political. If their job wasn’t to help people like Kerry advance their political agendas, those jobs wouldn’t exist.

    These guys are about as a apolitical as the faculty at an ivy league school or the editorial staff at the LA Times. All of whom claim the false mantle of apolitical objectivity precisely so they can better pursue their partisan agendas.

    Steve57 (c8ac21)

  19. “Armitage was an assistant Secretary of Defense at the time of the Plame disclosure, a position that required Senate confirmation.”

    Soronel – Make that Deputy Secretary of State and he was confirm by the Senate. He was a close associate of squish Colin Powell and tendered his resignation the day after Powell.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  20. Armitage, was an interesting case, because like the scorpion, Libby had gone to bat for him before, when the Christics and Perot had libeled him, and also his disclosure, showed how Plame was embarassing his own unit, INR.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  21. 17. Kiriakou, on the other hand, as far as I can tell from the limited info I have never held any such political position. His proper role was simply to carry out whatever policy ends his bosses came up with.
    Comment by Soronel Haetir — 10/25/2012 @ 12:14 am

    Although the context of your comment argues against it, please, please, tell me you are actually being sarcastic.

    If his boss is a prominent Democratic senator and Democratic presidential candidate, don’t you think his policies would be a bit pro-Democratic? I think even more-so than a “political appointment” who still has an independent brain once in the post.

    If you are not being sarcastic but seriously believe what you say, please rethink things, perhaps with a professional deprogramer if necessary. If you are willingly trying to obfuscate, which is to conceal the truth, to advocate for a lie, you are doing the work of the father of lies and his prophet Alinsky. That comes to a bad end.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  22. Well there’s an irony there,MD, as with Jeffrey Sterling who leaked that failed nuclear program,
    and thought he would be treated as a whistleblower,
    ha

    narciso (ee31f1)

  23. I can’t see that anywhere in that story even mentions that he’s a Senate staffer. They didn’t leave out only the detail, they left out the fact.

    Uppercase Matt (6e2162)

  24. Uppercase Matt – excellent point.

    JD (8a1df4)

  25. Soronel – as long as they are not Senate confirmed politicos, they don’t count?

    JD (8a1df4)

  26. Uppercase Matt,

    Excellent point indeed. Somehow I saw that in the story even though it isn’t there. Updated.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  27. Wilson was volunteering for John Kerry at the time he lied about knowing about the forgeries, too. He told Kerry he was going to make an issue about Valerie’s “outing” before he did it.

    So that’s two CIA outers who have worked for Kerry. Does Kerry really think he should be Sec of State?

    MayBee (4901b0)

  28. Hmm, a staffer for the next Secretary of State (if Obama wins)? is that worth a mention in the daily rags?

    Smarty (880bf6)

  29. After poking around a bit, it looks like at least one of his disclosures occurred while he was working for Kerry. I think he went to work for Kerry on or about March 25, 2009. According to the indictment, he was still corresponding with the journalist in April 2009.

    Uppercase Matt (1fcf1d)

  30. I’m confused. Whether it was in the LAT article or later in the post in the ref to the article in The Hill, at the time I wrote my post I was sure I had read that he was at least at one time a staffer for Kerry. Either I saw it, am confabulating and got lucky, or am developing psychic evil-fighting powers like on Psych. Maybe I can find a CA DA’s office that wants to hire me…

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  31. General James Jones, former Security Advisor, believes we’re back where Dog started in ME.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/10/24/former-obama-security-adviser-were-probably-right-back-where-we-were-three-four-years-ago-in-mideast/

    Sharyl Attkisson embeds CBS Kroft interview of Dog’s Vomit downplaying Egypt video rage connection to Benghazi attack on 9/12.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2012/10/25/CBS-Busts-Obama–and-Itself-Hidden-60-Minutes-Clip-Proves-White-House-Lied-About-Benghazi

    And Dog Style slams Willard as the ‘BSer’ with Rolling Stone.

    AP sez gender gap gone.

    So goes the single term proposition.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  32. The part of this story that sickens me is that Kiriakou leaked the information because he was trying to be a whistleblower against torture. The Obama administration has used the spying laws against twice as many whistleblowers as every previous administration combined.

    Chris (a9e1ad)

  33. Beginning in 2009, Kiriakou worked for about a year as an investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He collected information for a couple of counternarcotics and counterterrorism reports. Kerry was head of the committee at the time.

    The offenses he was subsequently charged with had nothing to do with the time he spent working for the Committee.

    Jeff D (58cdd0)

  34. He was working for Deloitte and Touche, and was a consultant for ABC News, at that time,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  35. Rodriguez in his memoir, says Kirikaou told him, they wanted him to comment on things like the Kite Runner film, he answered back, that’s not why they signed you.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  36. Beginning in 2009, Kiriakou worked for about a year as an investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He collected information for a couple of counternarcotics and counterterrorism reports. Kerry was head of the committee at the time.

    The offenses he was subsequently charged with had nothing to do with the time he spent working for the Committee.

    Comment by Jeff D — 10/25/2012 @ 2:05 pm |Edit This

    Therefore it is irrelevant?! I doubt the MFM would treat it as such were it a Team R staffer. In fact, I know it would be different.

    JD (8a1df4)

  37. Thank you for the clarification of details.

    I think a point of the discussion was whether Kiriakou had any propensity for being a political partisan. I think it can be argued that whether he was working for Kerry at the time of the crime or not, unless he had some major ideological shift along the way, he likely had strong pro-Democrat leanings. Though I am certainly willing to see evidence to the contrary.

    The Obama administration has used the spying laws against twice as many whistleblowers as every previous administration combined.
    Comment by Chris — 10/25/2012 @ 9:53 am

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  38. The Obama administration has used the spying laws against twice as many whistleblowers as every previous administration combined.
    Comment by Chris — 10/25/2012 @ 9:53 am

    Comment by MD in Philly — 10/25/2012 @ 2:16 pm

    Sorry, I was going to point out how interesting that is for an administration that wanted to be known for its transparency.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  39. Same with Jeffrey Sterling, who leaked to James Risen, ‘no good deed’ from their perspective goes unpunished

    narciso (ee31f1)

  40. Is that 30 months a typo? Shouldn’t it have been thirty years?

    htom (412a17)

  41. 31. General James Jones, former Security Advisor, believes we’re back where Dog started in ME.

    Comment by gary gulrud — 10/25/2012 @ 8:25 am

    That’s an absolutely silly assessment. Even if you accepted the idea that we are no closer to achieving our national security interests in the ME than we were four years ago (which we clearly are not; we’re worse off in that regard), once you destroy your reputation as a reliable ally and a formidable power and instead demonstrate you’re feckless and weak it is much harder to reestablish your reputation and claw your way back to where you used to be.

    Point A may still be just as far away from point B as it ever was, but you’re going to have to work twice as hard to go from one to the other.

    Steve57 (c8ac21)

  42. Well he ‘chose poorly’ first in badmouthing Rumsfeld, and then signing on with these pirates,
    of course, trading Bin Laden for Qutb’s fever dream, is a huge disadvantage,

    narciso (ee31f1)


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