Ex-CIA officer alleges agency retaliated after he didn't falsify report
By Dana Priest
The Washington Post
12/09/04 "Washington Post" -- WASHINGTON — A senior CIA operative who handled sensitive informants in Iraq asserts that CIA managers asked him to falsify his reporting on weapons of mass destruction and retaliated against him after he refused.
The operative, who remains under cover, claims in a lawsuit made public yesterday that a co-worker warned him in 2001 "that CIA management planned to 'get him' for his role in reporting intelligence contrary to official CIA dogma."
The subject of that reporting has been blacked out by the CIA, and the word "Iraq" does not appear in the heavily redacted version of the complaint, but other language and context make clear the officer's work related to prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
In the lawsuit, the officer asserts CIA managers retaliated for refusing their demands by beginning a counterintelligence investigation of allegations he had sex with a female contact and by initiating an inspector general's investigation into allegations that he stole money meant to be used to pay contacts.
The lawsuit marks the first public instance in which a CIA employee has charged directly that agency officials pressured him to produce intelligence to support the Bush administration's prewar position that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were a grave and gathering threat, and to suppress information that ran counter to that view.
"Their official dogma was contradicted by his reporting, and they did not want to hear it," said Roy Krieger, attorney for the 23-year officer of Middle Eastern descent.
Anya Guilsher, a CIA spokeswoman, said the agency could not comment on the lawsuit. But she added, "The notion that CIA managers order officers to falsify reports is flat wrong. Our mission is to call it like we see it and report the facts."
Critics of the Iraq war have asserted the administration pressured analysts and operators to produce information that bolstered the case for invading Iraq. Congressional investigations did not find such evidence, but found the CIA did not have enough spies in Iraq and that the analysis of the highly circumstantial evidence was mischaracterized as firmer than it was.
No biological or chemical weapons have been found in Iraq. A subsequent CIA-led investigation found Iraq was nowhere near producing a nuclear weapon, as the administration had asserted.
In 2002, the lawsuit says, the CIA officer "attempted to report routine intelligence" from a contact "but was thwarted by CIA superiors."
It goes on to say that he subsequently was approached by a senior desk officer "who insisted that Plaintiff falsify his reporting," and that when he refused, the "management" of the CIA's Counterproliferation Division ordered that he "remove himself from any further 'handling' " of the unnamed contact, referred elsewhere in the document as "a highly respected human asset."
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., says the plaintiff's superiors falsely promised him they would report his findings to President Bush and falsely claimed they had disseminated some of his other reports through normal channels.
In 2003, the lawsuit says, the CIA officer learned of the counterintelligence investigation of allegations that he was having sex with a female contact. Five days later, it says, he was told a promotion was being canceled "because of pressure from the DDO (Deputy Director of Operations) James Pavitt."
Pavitt declined to comment.
In September 2003, the CIA placed the officer on administrative leave without explanation, the lawsuit says. Eight months later, it says, the inspector general's office advised him he was under investigation for "diverting to his own use monies provided him for payment to human assets."
The document says the allegations were made by the same managers who had asked him to falsify reports.
Last August, he was terminated "for unspecified reasons," the lawsuit says. It requests that his employment, salary and promotions be restored and that the CIA pay compensatory damages and legal fees.
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