Photo: Jonathon Narvey via flickr
Former CIA operative Wayne Simmons sat down on Fox and Friends Wednesday to lambast the movie “Zero Dark 30,” despite the movie being subsidized with inside information from the Agency itself.This abundance of “leaked” information — from former operatives and unnamed sources — sources has become standard, and since the Senate scrapped measures to prevent it last week, it’s not going anywhere.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a proponent of the provisions, said the language was removed to prevent it from holding up passage of the attached National defence Authorization Act.
Had the anti-leak provisions gone into law, low- and medium-level agents, both active and innactive, would be barred from consorting with journalists or even appearing on television. The law would have left only the highest Intelligence officials and public affairs officers cleared to give strictly sanctioned press briefings, which was a controversial in the intelligence community.
The provisions, initiated last summer after a spate of leaks, were hotly contested by the media and apparently contested by the intelligience community.
From Washington Post:
Eliminating unclassified background briefings “doesn’t serve any valid purpose,” said Steven Aftergood, an expert on classification issues for the Federation of American Scientists. “It seems like an expression of pique, not a sensible response to a real problem.”
Other U.S. officials said spy agencies sometimes see an advantage in sharing their assessments, including reports on the progress against al-Qaeda, with the public.
Critics of the provision also warned that it could lead to harsh prosecution of whistleblowers.
The CIA and the Justice Departments national security division met initial calls for prosecutorial investigations and new legislation with the assertion that they “would not cooperate,” according to a Fox News report.
Information sharing, even side-by-side working relationships between the CIA and media dates back to the 50s and probably earlier. Their coziness was actually, in part, subject of an investigation in 1975 which later led to the creation of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which Feinstein now chairs.
Meanwhile Feinstein’s provision, which focused on intelligence leaks, conspicuously left out the White House, largely believed to be the originator of certain high visibility leaks. (Though she later walked back her statements, Feinstein herself expressed belief that the White House leaked classified information pertaining to Obama’s kill list and the infamous Stuxnet virus.)
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