Leaking the name of a covert CIA officer is just plain bad for the spy business, intelligence professionals say. \nIt not only damages the individual's career and demoralizes the spy agency, but more broadly raises the question: Can the US keep a secret? \nThe Justice Department is investigating who revealed that diplomat Joseph Wilson's wife was an undercover CIA officer specializing in weapons of mass destruction. White House staff have been ordered to cooperate with the criminal probe. \nWilson believes his wife's identity was publicized by administration officials seeking revenge after he accused the White House of exaggerating the weapons threat from Iraq. \nIn the past five years the CIA has notified the Justice Department an average of once a year about the public disclosure of an undercover officer's identity, a US official said. \nWhile it could not be determined what specific damage the latest leak may have caused, intelligence professionals say at a minimum the CIA career of Wilson's wife is ruined. \nShe had probably been using her real-life status as a diplomat's wife to cover-up her CIA work, and now will be severely limited in opportunities, especially overseas, said the intelligence professionals. \nUnlike in the movies, CIA officers who work overseas for long stretches do so under their real names because it is too difficult to keep an alias for years. \nThey would never be able to receive family e-mails or phone calls, and if working at a US Embassy they could run into someone from home. An alias is generally used for short-term missions. \nBut beyond the individual career, those connected to her may now be suspected of ties to the CIA, and reshuffling them and making related administrative changes can be costly. \nThe CIA pays other government agencies to set up mechanisms to make it appear that the CIA officers work for that other agency, such as the US Department of State or Commerce Department. \n"So you're not only compromising a person, you're compromising relationships that may impact on other people that use the same office, the same telephone numbers and everything else that goes with it," said a former intelligence official. \n"Cover is cover. It's got to be protected. There are a lot of other things behind it besides the individual," he said. \nThe leak also casts suspicion on whether the US can keep a secret, which can give foreign recruits pause about spying for the CIA and foreign governments a reason for concern about sharing intelligence. \nAnd it is demoralizing to the CIA work force. \n"You're chipping away at CIA culture which is based on protecting sources and methods, and one way to do that is to protect the identity of our officers. They grow up with this. I grew up with it," said Robert Baer, a former CIA officer. \nIt was important for CIA employees to see that the leak was being investigated, said the former intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. \n"The rank and file [are saying]: `Go get `em. Go get the leakers that compromised our cover and break their knees,'" the former official said. \nBut senior CIA officials have to walk more of a tightrope having to show the rank and file they will fight to protect classified information, but also having to deal with the political realities of serving the White House. \n"If you're higher up the food chain and have to deal with the White House and elsewhere and realize all the political ramifications, that can't be a good day," he said.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference