Panetta reminds CIA workers to avoid unauthorized leaks of information
Tuesday, November 9, 2010; B03
CIA's Panetta warns against leaks
Asserting that lives have been endangered and sources compromised by "a damaging spate of media leaks on a wide range of national security issues" in recent months, CIA Director Leon Panetta reminded the spy agency's employees Monday that unauthorized disclosures of classified information "cannot be tolerated."
"When information about our intelligence, our people, or our operations appears in the media, it does incredible damage to our nation's security and our ability to do our job of protecting the nation," Panetta's agency-wide message said. "More importantly, it could jeopardize lives. For this reason, such leaks cannot be tolerated."
Informed sources said Panetta, a former
Steve Aftergood, editor of the Federation of American Scientists's Secrecy News, said: "I don't know which particular sources or methods might have been compromised. I think the message itself is part of a familiar socialization process that is intended to instill the notion that leaks are taboo.
"From CIA's point of view," Aftergood said, "there are no good leaks. But of course CIA's point of view is not the only one."
Panetta said the administration has been "taking a hard line" on leaks, "as demonstrated by the prosecutions of a former National Security Agency official, a Federal Bureau of Investigation linguist and a State Department contractor."
Former NSA official Thomas A. Drake is being prosecuted on charges he provided a reporter with classified information about a program that he said was marred by "waste, mismanagement and a willingness to compromise Americans' privacy without enhancing security," according to The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima.
In May, former FBI linguist Shamai Kedem Leibowitz, also known as Samuel Shamai Leibowitz, 40, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for providing classified documents to an unnamed blogger.
And in August, a State Department analyst under contract, Steven Kim, was charged with leaking top secret information about
"Every officer takes a secrecy oath, which obligates us to protect classified information while we serve at the Agency and after we leave," Panetta said in his message.
In August, the newly appointed director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper, sent an internal memo to all 16 agencies in the intelligence community complaining about leaks. It stayed private for only a few hours.
Panetta side-stepped that embarrassment by leaving his message unclassified.
To read more of Jeff Stein's reporting on the intelligence community, go to SpyTalk at www.blog.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs