CIA fires employee for alleged leak, contact with news media on secret prisons story |

CIA fires employee for alleged leak, contact with news media on secret prisons story

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – In a highly unusual move, the CIA has fired an employee for leaking classified information to the news media, including details about secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe that resulted in a Pultizer Prize-winning story, officials said Friday.A federal criminal investigation has also been opened.CIA Director Porter Goss announced the firing in a short message to agency employees circulated Thursday. It is the first time since he took over in August 2004, vowing to clamp down on leaks, that he has dismissed an intelligence officer for speaking with reporters.Agency spokesman Paul Gimigliano confirmed an officer had been fired for having unauthorized contacts with the media and disclosing classified information to reporters, including details about intelligence operations.”The officer has acknowledged unauthorized discussions with the media and the unauthorized sharing of classified information,” Gimigliano said. “That is a violation of the secrecy agreement that everyone signs as a condition of employment with the CIA.”Citing the Privacy Act, the CIA would not disclose any details about the officer’s identity or what that person might have told the news media.However, a law enforcement official confirmed there was a criminal investigation under way and said the CIA officer had provided information that contributed to a Washington Post story last year saying there were secret U.S. prisons in Eastern Europe. The law enforcement official spoke only on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the matter.The Post reported that the CIA had set up a covert prison system after Sept. 11, 2001, that at various times included sites in eight countries. The story caused an international uproar, and government officials have said it did significant damage to relationships between the U.S. and allied intelligence agencies.Goss has pressed for aggressive investigations of leaked information.”The damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission,” Goss told Congress in February, adding that a federal grand jury should be impaneled to determine “who is leaking this information.”On Friday, another government official, also speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said the fired officer had failed a polygraph test.It was not clear if the person was taking a routine polygraph examination, as is required periodically of employees with access to classified information, or if the polygraph was among those ordered by Goss to find leakers inside the agency.Justice Department officials declined to comment publicly on the firing and whether the matter had been referred to federal prosecutors for possible criminal charges. One law enforcement official said there were dozens of leak investigations under way.The Washington Post’s Dana Priest won a Pulitzer Prize this week for her reporting on the secret prisons story.”No Post reporter has been subpoenaed or talked to investigators in connection with this matter,” Post spokesman Eric Grant said Friday.—Associated Press Writer Mark Sherman contributed to this report.Vail, Colorado

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