CIA Fires Officer for Leak to Media

The CIA has fired an officer for unauthorized leaks of classified information to the media. A CIA spokeswoman says, “This is just the beginning.”

The CIA has fired one of its officers for leaking classified information, an agency spokeswoman said Friday. The officer admitted to “unauthorized discussions with the media in which the officer knowingly and willfully shared classified intelligence including operational information,” said spokeswoman Michelle Neff. Neff declined to divulge the officer’s name or position, or what specifically was leaked.

A U.S. official said the person’s name has been turned over to the Justice Department, where a determination will be made whether to file criminal charges. The Justice Department is conducting an investigation into several leaks, including ones concerning secret CIA prisons and the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program. Justice Department officials had no comment.

As for the CIA’s investigation, “This is just the beginning,” said Neff.

All CIA personnel are required to sign agreements prohibiting them from discussing classified information with anyone who doesn’t have clearance.

I don’t want to see a witch hunt here, which could cause a severe strain in the morale of the Agency. At the same time, those who commit serious breaches of their oaths have to be punished.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. RA says:

    Firing is not punishment enough. He should serve jail time!!

  2. James Joyner says:

    Presumably, that’s what the DoJ referral is about.

  3. I would be interested to know what newspaper and what leak. I would especially be interested to know if the DoJ goes after the reporter and the paper.

  4. John Burgess says:

    There’s already a massive “severe strain in the morale” at the Agency. Lot’s of senior and almost-senior people are bailing out.

    Very reminiscent of the Stansfield Turner days, in fact…

  5. Greywolf says:

    According to FOX NEWS, this is about the secret prison story, run by the Washington Post and its “queen of treason” Dana Priest.
    “CIA morale.” Thats like saying morale at McDonalds. The CIA is about as useful to the nation as a McDonald’s franchise.
    We (USA) desperately need an intelligence function, but the CIA has long since failed itself into a morass of chicken-shit, pencil-neck bureaucracy.
    Fire’em all….

  6. legion says:

    Are you being sarcastic? I’ve seen a ref or two that the leak may have been to reporter Dana Priest re: secret CIA prisons overseas…

    If not, this is irony at its finest…

  7. Herb says:

    Right now, I don’t give a damn about the “Morale” of the Agency.

    The CIA has been in need of a good house cleaning for years and the bureaucrats need to go. The CIA is suffering from nothing more than the effects of bureaucracy overload and everyone there is covering their asses in order to protect their comfy well paying jobs.

    Just look back a short time and see how much George Tennet did for the American people in the Mid East. He fell squarely on his big rear end on that one and then “got a Medal” for it. What a joke.

  8. RJN says:

    The leaker may have done the public a service.

  9. Maggie says:

    Sure, fire the “lackeys” and when are SENATORS going to be held responsible for their diarrhea of the mouth????????????

  10. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    RJN if you think leaking information that limits our ability to conduct intelligence is a public service, you may be on the wrong side of this issue. There are laws against what the leaker did. Hopefully, those who play politics with our national security receive the full measure of punishment for their acts. There are those that hate Bush, and oppose everything he does, but he is doing what he was authorized to do by the Congress. Those opposed to removing Saddam or who oppose our fighting the war on terror should examine their motives.

  11. RJN says:

    If the government of the people of this country is moving prisoners to nations of convience for the purpose of torturing them, I would like to know. That is not what I voted for when I voted for Bush.

    You might argue that some punisment is due, but the guy is a hero if he reveals wrongdoing in the CIA.

  12. DJ says:

    Let ‘s see…a government employee sworn to protect security and follow rules regarding relase of information decides to go to the media — not the inspector general, not the justice department, not their superior, not the house or senate intelligence committees, any of which would be proper procedure — and somehow this makes them a saint. I am tired of senior government career officials, whether the CIA, the State Department or Generals at the Pentagon deciding that they “know better” than the people placed in positions of authority by the President and approved by Congress, who run to media and violate their oaths and responsibilities to “make their points”, and often simultaneously peddle a few copies of their book. It would be nice if they remembered that they are supposed to serve the people — not their own ego.

  13. Maggie says:

    It might have been a good deterrent if Sandy Berger had been appropriately prosecuted for his crimes.

  14. ICallMasICM says:

    This is good. Now we can see what treason really is.