A sacked CIA official is suing the agency for allegedly retaliating against him for refusing to falsify his reports on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to support the White House's pre-war position, The Washington Post said yesterday.
Described as a senior CIA official who was sacked in August "for unspecified reasons," the plaintiff's lawsuit appears to be the first public instance of a CIA official charging that he was pressured to produce intelligence to support the US government's pre-war contention that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were a grave threat to US and international security.
"Their official dogma was contradicted by his reporting and they did not want to hear it," said Roy Krieger, the officer's attorney.
CIA spokeswoman Anya Guilsher told the daily she could not comment on the lawsuit, adding: "The notion that CIA managers order officers to falsify reports is flat wrong. Our mission is to call it like we see it and report the facts."
Krieger wrote a letter requesting a meeting with CIA Director Porter Goss due to "the serious nature of the allegations in this case, including deliberately misleading the president on intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction," said the daily quoting from the letter.
The US overthrew the Iraqi dictatorship of Saddam Hussein in April last year, but has found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq since then. The US government has acnowledged some of its pre-war intelligence may have been faulty.
The plaintiff, whose identity is blacked out in the lawsuit as well as any reference to Iraq, is of Middle Eastern descent, worked 23 years in the CIA, much of them in covert operations to collect intelligence on weapons of mass destruction, said the daily.
The lawsuit was filed in a US District Court in Washington on Friday and made public Wednesday after it was screened by a judge, said The Washington Post, which obtained a copy.
It alleges that the CIA investigated alleged sexual and financial improprieties by the plaintiff "for the sole purpose of discrediting him and retaliating against him for questioning the integrity of the WMD reporting ... and for refusing to falsify his intelligence reporting to support the politically mandated conclusion" of matters that are redacted in the lawsuit.
The document states that in 2002 the plaitiff was "thwarted by CIA superiors" from reporting routine intelligence from a contact of his and that later he was approached by a senior officer "who insisted that Plaintiff falsify his reporting."
When the plaintiff refused, the lawsuit said, the CIA's Counterproliferation Division ordered that he "remove himself from any further `handling'" of the contact, referred elsewhere in the document as "a highly respected human asset."
Last year, the lawsuit goes on to say, the CIA officer learned of the investigations against him and that he was refused a promotion "because of pressure from the DDO [Deputy Director of Operations] James Pavitt."
In September last year, the plaintiff was placed on administrative leave without explanation and in August he was sacked also "for unspecified reasons."
The lawsuit requests that the plaintiff be restored to his former position in the CIA and received compensatory damages and legal fees.