CIA officials lie sometimes? You don't say

A judge reprimands several Agency officials for not being fully honest with him

Tim Bella
July 21, 2009 6:55PM (UTC)

Nancy Pelosi may be on to something after all.

The House speaker has alleged that the CIA lied to her, and Republicans have reacted angrily to the suggestion. But a Monday ruling from a prominent federal judge is a reminder that the Agency and its employees aren't always perfectly honest. has ruled that as many as six CIA officials committed fraud in order to protect a covert agent from a 1994 eavesdropping lawsuit.


U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth has ruled that as many as six CIA officials committed fraud in order to protect a covert agent from a 1994 eavesdropping lawsuit. Lamberth also referred Jeffrey Yeates, a CIA attorney, for disciplinary action stemming from the suit, which was brought by a former agent at the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Lamberth has delayed action until he determines if any of five others – including former CIA Director George Tenet – should face contempt charges or sanctions for failing to notify the court that an agent was no longer covert.

The DEA agent, Richard Horn, said his home in Burma was illegally wiretapped by the CIA in 1993 and that two former high-ranking CIA officials, Arthur Brown and Franklin Huddle, Jr., attempted to have Horn relocated because of their discontent with Horn’s work with Burmese officials on the country’s drug trade.

In 2000, Tenet filed court papers asking that Brown’s involvement in the case be dismissed due to his status as a covert agent. Lamberth threw out the case against Brown in 2004, and he was seemingly off the hook up -- until last year when Lamberth discovered Brown’s cover was lifted in 2002, though the CIA continued to file documents saying Brown was still covert.

Lamberth also blasted CIA Director Leon Panetta, saying Panetta has given conflicting viewpoints about what should be revealed in the Horn case.

Of course, there’s also the inevitable “He said, He said” game between Brown and John Rizzo, former acting CIA general counsel. Rizzo said the office of general counsel didn’t know about Brown’s change in status until 2005, but that one attorney -- Yeates -- knew about the change and withheld the information from the court and his supervisors. Brown has disputed Rizzo’s account.


Tim Bella


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