Skip to main content

CIA agent fired for 'pattern of behavior'

Investigation 'not over yet,' officials say

From David Ensor
CNN Washington Bureau

CIA analyst Mary McCarthy had investigated allegations of torture in Iraq, a colleague said.


Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Justice Department

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. official told CNN on Monday that the CIA officer fired for leaking classified information was accused of a "pattern of behavior," including multiple contacts with more than one reporter.

Sources also confirmed to CNN that the officer fired last Thursday is Mary O. McCarthy, who last worked in the CIA inspector general's office.

"It's not just about one story, it's a pattern of activity," the official said.

Officials said the investigation into leaking to Dana Priest of The Washington Post, and other journalists, is ongoing. "It is not over yet," said one.

McCarthy admitted to multiple unauthorized contacts with journalists after failing a polygraph test, one of "dozens" conducted at the CIA since January of personnel knowledgeable about compromised programs, sources said. Those who took polygraph tests included CIA Director Porter Goss and the agency's inspector general, John Helgerson, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

A congressional aide said that prior to the public revelation that a CIA employee had been fired, the intelligence committees were only told the person was a 61-year-old female in the inspector general's office.

Two congressional aides -- one Democratic, one Republican -- both told CNN they knew of no attempt by McCarthy to speak to intelligence committee members about any concerns about CIA activities.

Last week, spokeswoman Michelle Neff said the officer admitted to "unauthorized discussions with the media in which the officer knowingly and willfully shared classified intelligence including operational information."

Neff declined to divulge the officer's name or position, or what specifically was leaked.

A U.S. official said the person's name has been turned over to the Justice Department, where a determination will be made on whether to file criminal charges.

A senior government official said the dismissal was related to a story in The Washington Post about the United States holding terror suspects in secret prisons overseas.

Priest spearheaded the reporting on the "black site" prisons and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize earlier this month for beat reporting. The Pulitzer board called her reporting on the prisons "persistent" and "painstaking."

A Justice Department investigation is ongoing regarding the story. It is one of several investigations into leaks of classified information, including revelations about the National Security Agency's domestic spying program, which was first reported by The New York Times.

All CIA personnel are required to sign agreements prohibiting them from discussing classified information with anyone who doesn't have clearance.

Former acting CIA Director John McLaughlin, a CNN contributor, has said any CIA employee who wants to raise complaints should address the agency inspector general or the appropriate intelligence committees, not the media.

"It is illegal to leak information. That's what you sign up to when you join an intelligence service," McLaughlin said.

CNN's Pam Benson contributed to this report.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.

© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines