Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Monday, February 12, 2007
  Bigger than "Wilson's Wife"
While the Scooter Libby trial has attracted a fair amount of press who are enamored by the drama of a politically ruthless and backstabbing White House staff, there is a similar case that has been pretty thoroughly ignored in most of the press:

An ex-CIA agent is suing his former employer for wrongful dismissal, claiming he was sacked because he did not come up with the desired slant in his pre-war Iraq WMD.
A federal judge has ruled that a CIA agent identified only as "Doe," allegedly fired after he gathered prewar intelligence showing that Iraq was not developing weapons of mass destruction, can proceed with his lawsuit against the CIA. The judge has ordered both parties to submit discovery requests–evidence they want for their case–to be completed by March 15, according to the CIA agent's lawyer and a spokesman for the Justice Department, which is defending the CIA in court.
Gee. What reason could this former agent possibly have to believe that agents who came to the correct conclusions on Iraq would be thrown under the bus by White House loyalists?

I guess if you don't have Tim Russert testifying under oath it's not worth covering.

Sad and scary. We are treated like children by our rulers and our media.
I don't see how such a claim in a lawsuit can be "sad and scary." A fired employee has financial and emotional incentive to claim (indeed, to believe) such a thing, and given the nature of his line of work, it is not likely we will ever know one way or the other -- indeed, he probably does not know himself.

If the CIA is half as ruthless as its critics believe, he of course has no chance of success, because they will fudge the evidence, or did so before firing him. (On the other hand, wouldn't an even moderately Machiavellian CIA have kept him on just so he would not make such a fuss?)

Regardless of the merits, it is not likely this case can be tried fairly because of security considerations. If ever a civil case called out for sovereign immunity, this is it.

I do hope that the CIA does not fire analysts for coming to embarrassing conclusions, but not every potential injustice is amenable to a civil suit.
I will grant the possibility that this person was dismissed with cause, but given that a federal judge has taken a NOC agent's complaint to the discovery phase, I suspect that the case has shown a fair amount of cause.

The sad and scary part is not the claim itself, but has to do with the fact that the media only cover "sexy" court cases while potentially more significant ones are ignored. Also, the executive branch appears to have acted in a manner entirely consistent with the reports of badgering and threats towards analysts who did not echo the Cheney line in '02-'03.

DWPittelli said...
". . . but not every potential injustice is amenable to a civil suit."

I wonder what my 8th grade Civics teacher would have thought of that? I seem to remember some words about the Rule of Law and the protections in our Constitution that guaranteed each of us equal protection under the law. Thus even the least powerful were protected from the most powerful. Our court system was designed to provide this protection. For example, the Supreme Court is "the decider" as to what cases it will hear. Such decisions are not made in the Executive or the Legislative branches of government.

Now, maybe that was a long time ago and somebody changed all that. But, I Googled the hell out of it and couldn't find a damn thing that indicated my Civics teacher was wrong.

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