CIA Leak Redux

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Senior news analyst Daniel Schorr comments on the investigation of yet another CIA leak.


A CIA leak to be investigated and maybe punished. What? Not again!


NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.

SCHORR: Now, as with the leak of the identity of covert agent Valerie Plame, the offense is the leak, not what was leaked. In the case of Valerie Plame, the news was that her husband, Joseph Wilson, had been sent to Niger to investigate whether Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium to make a nuclear weapon, and he had returned with word that there was no evidence of this. This was embarrassing to a White House which had taken America to war on the assertion that we were in imminent danger. But that issue was buried in the quest to find out who had leaked.

After a two-year investigation by a special counsel, vice presidential aide Lewis Libby was indicted and Judith Miller lost her job with The New York Times. But the Bush administration still has not provided a rationale for a war for which America is still paying in money and lives.

So now the latest leak: A Washington Post story on November 2nd, saying that the CIA is maintaining a network of secret prisons in eastern Europe and elsewhere, where suspected terrorists can be interrogated free of whatever rules would apply to interrogations in this country. The story sparked an explosion; not so much about the secret prisons, but about how the story got out. The CIA has asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into the leak. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist have asked for an investigation by the Intelligence Committees of both houses. Senate committee Chairman Pat Roberts was asked about how long such an inquiry would take. `Decades,' he joked.

But what about the secret prisons, the `black sites,' as they're called in the intelligence business? The Republican leaders in Congress have not raised the issue of why the CIA has these prisons in the first place. This is Daniel Schorr.

HANSEN: It's 22 minutes before the hour.

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