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.
A long line of people on Sunday snaked across the sand of Miami Beach, Florida, as dozens of travelers from Latin America waited their turn at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination booth. Sweating under the afternoon sun, visitors checked into an online system — no proof of residence required — and soon after received a free, single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a vaccination card. People had come from all over Latin America — Ecuador, El Salvador, Venezuela — where the vaccine rollout has been slow and hampered by supply shortages. “In my country, [COVID-19] is getting out of hand and there’s
A man was left stranded on a glass-bottomed suspension bridge in northeastern China after sudden gale-force winds shattered the transparent panels around him. The man was on the 100m-high bridge at Piyan Mountain in Longjing city, when it was hit by sudden strong weather, the local tourism department said. TRAPPED Gusts of up to 150kph blew out several glass panels, trapping the tourist until he could be rescued by firefighters, police, and forestry and tourism personnel more than half an hour later. Photographs shared on social media showed the man clinging to the side of the bridge, surrounded by gaping holes where the
US actress Scarlett Johansson on Saturday urged the film industry to “step back” from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) as criticism of the opaque film industry group, which controls the Golden Globe awards, continues to mount for sexism and racism. The Avengers star said in a statement that the “HFPA is an organization that was legitimized by the likes of Harvey Weinstein to amass momentum for Academy recognition.” Johansson said that “as an actor promoting a film,” participating in the organization’s news conferences and award shows “has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on
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