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Prison fines await those leak cia identities

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Prison, fines await those who leak CIA identities

By Frank J. Murray

An insider who exposes a covert CIA employee's identity risks up to 10 years in federal prison and a $50,000 fine, but a prosecutor must clear many hurdles to make such a case.
One hurdle is that the person identified must have served in a covert capacity abroad or in a post involving foreign counterintelligence at some point in the last five years under a cover intended to shield her identity, according to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.
The law that protects the identity of CIA and other undercover operatives was passed in 1982 after a rogue CIA agent revealed the identities of agency agents, employees and sources abroad. The law has never been tested.
The Washington Times yesterday was told those conditions apply to Valerie Wilson, who also is known by her maiden name of Valerie Plame and is married to former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson. Her identity was leaked after Mr. Wilson criticized the Bush administration's Iraq policy regarding reports that Iraqis tried to buy nuclear-bomb materials in Niger.
A source who is informed about the spreading investigation into the leak said widespread reports are incorrect in reporting that Mrs. Wilson is an analyst whose identity would not be protected, and that the very fact the FBI received the CIA report indicates her role fit definitions of "undercover intelligence officer" and "covert agent" in the Protection Act.
The law reserves its toughest punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine for those with official access to the classified information that identifies an agent. Lesser prison terms of five years and fines of $15,000 to $25,000 are specified for people with security clearances but who learn a cloak-and-dagger agent's identity elsewhere.
In either case, a crime is committed only if the person who leaks is aware the government "is taking affirmative measures to conceal" the intelligence link, and if the person deliberately gives the information to someone not authorized to know it.
Mrs. Wilson's secret life as an energy expert who focused on weapons of mass destruction unraveled after syndicated columnist Robert Novak reported the relationship July 14, based on information he said came from two senior administration officials.
One clause of the law not expected to apply to a single disclosure is interpreted under the federal-sentencing guidelines to cover journalists who participate in "a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents."
The 1982 protection law was a direct response to the case of Philip Agee, an American expatriate and former clandestine CIA agent who the Supreme Court said "repeatedly and publicly identified individuals and organizations located in foreign countries as undercover CIA agents, employees, or sources."
Mr. Agee was convicted of nothing, but lost his U.S. passport and now operates a tourist business in Havana, his lawyer said yesterday.
"I think there were no prosecutions under that new law," said New York lawyer Melvin L. Wulf, who argued the unsuccessful appeal for Mr. Agee and several publications at the Supreme Court in 1981 and who said he helped oppose passage of the 1982 law now under the microscope.
Mr. Wulf, an admitted political partisan, said he doesn't believe the law is needed but advocates an exception for the current administration.
"On this I'm now a law-and-order man. I do believe it should be very strictly enforced in this particular case and I hope they get somebody in the White House and further damage Bush's reputation, which is eroding as we speak," Mr. Wulf said.

Administration blows cover of whistleblower { August 8 2003 }
Agee calls leak dirty politics
Agee discusses leak of name
Agee sees whitehouse getting blowback
Another time reported testomy may help rove { December 12 2005 }
Appeals court upheld ruling against reporters over leak { February 15 2005 }
Ashcroft recused self from investigation { December 31 2003 }
Buchanan comments on mclaughlin july 15 05 { July 15 2005 }
Bush admits cia leak came from whitehouse { July 12 2007 }
Bush aide testifies leak probe { February 9 2004 }
Bush and lawyer huddle on CIA leak { June 2 2004 }
Bush commuted libby prison sentence { June 2007 }
Bush defends declassification of prewar report
Bush jokes to reporter about cia leak
Bush knew of pending cia leak
Bush toughens support of leak investigation { October 7 2003 }
Cheney advisor resigns after indictment
Cheney aide also linked to cia leak { July 18 2005 }
Cheney aide says bush approved leak { April 6 2006 }
Cheney and rove lose importance in whitehouse
Cheney may use executive privilege { October 29 2005 }
Cheney reportedly interviewed in leak of CIA name { June 5 2004 }
Cheney source of officer name to libby { October 25 2005 }
Cheney staff focus of probe { February 17 2004 }
Cheney to be defense witness in cia leak case
Cia blocks varerie plame book
Cia name leak from whitehouse { September 30 2003 }
Cia probe widens
Colleague says armitage was cia leak source { August 29 2006 }
Did rove blow spooks cover { September 16 2003 }
Doj investigation whitehouse reveal cia agent
Fitzgerald calls new grand jury after woodward testimony { November 19 2005 }
Judith freed to testify about source lewis libby { September 30 2005 }
Judith miller cant remember where name came from { October 16 2005 }
Judith miller retires from the times
Karl rove testifies before federal grand jury on leak
Last day of probe keeping whitehouse jittery
Leaders express outrage for libby commuted sentence { July 3 2007 }
Leaker said wilson wife fair game { September 28 2003 }
Libby charges dont address cia leak
Libby lawyer told miller to clear scooter libby { October 16 2005 }
Libby may have hidden cheney role { November 13 2005 }
Libby perjury worse than lewinsky perjury
Libby retains 5th amendment by avoiding pardon { July 3 2007 }
Libby says white house superiors approved leak { February 9 2006 }
Libby scapegoated to protect karl rove { January 24 2007 }
Libby trial delayed right after 2006 elections { February 4 2006 }
Matthew cooper testify after rove lawyers maneuvering { July 7 2005 }
Mcclellan cant clear cheney in cia leak case { June 20 2008 }
Memo central to leak delivered to powell { July 21 2005 }
Nbc russert rebuts libby testimony { February 7 2007 }
New tork times reporter jailed for concealing leak { July 7 2005 }
New york times reporter given top security clearance { October 16 2005 }
Novak claims book was source of leak { August 2 2005 }
Novak points to cia { October 1 2003 }
Novak pokes fun at cia leak
Novak wont give up source { October 1 2003 }
Pat buchanan says neocons behind whole thing { July 15 2005 }
Powell gives testimony to grand jury
Press secretary says bush behind leak { October 2007 }
Prison fines await those leak cia identities
Probe exposing cia identity { September 29 2003 }
Prosecutor investigating coverup of leak { July 27 2005 }
Prosecutors question Bush on CIA name leak { June 25 2004 }
Reporter held in contempt
Rove and libby worked damage control { July 22 2005 }
Rove blamed libby to jury { October 20 2005 }
Rove called to testify 5th time { April 27 2006 }
Rove confirmed plame indirectly lawyer says { July 15 2005 }
Rove emailed security official about matthew cooper { July 11 2003 }
Rove fight escalates { July 15 2005 }
Rove legal team furious efforts to convince prosecutor { October 27 2005 }
Rove mclellan interviewed cia probe { October 23 2003 }
Rove told cooper wilsons wife works for agency { July 11 2005 }
Rove wont face indictment in cia leak case { June 13 2006 }
Story from two senior whitehouse employees
Time magazine talked to rove for plane story
Time reporters in contempt of court for cia leak
Time reporters says he first learned of plame from rove { July 18 2005 }
Valerie plame does vanity fair spread { December 3 2003 }
Whitehouse press secretary contradicts libby { December 2007 }
Wilson suggested rove leaked { September 30 2003 }
Woodward attacked by liberals { November 18 2005 }
Woodward eyed after calling fitzgerald overzealous { November 17 2005 }
Woodward was told of plame before leak { November 16 2005 }

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