Mary McCarthy: 'I did not do it'
Mary McCarthy has denied being the Dana Priest's leak source. According to the Washington Post:
A lawyer representing fired CIA officer Mary O. McCarthy said yesterday that his client did not leak any classified information and did not disclose to Washington Post reporter Dana Priest the existence of secret CIA-run prisons in Eastern Europe for suspected terrorists.
The statement by Ty Cobb, a lawyer in the Washington office of Hogan & Hartson who said he was speaking for McCarthy, came on the same day that a senior intelligence official said the agency is not asserting that McCarthy was a key source of Priest's award-winning articles last year disclosing the agency's secret prisons.
In From the Cold wondered about the same thing before the story broke:
As we noted previously, the career of fired CIA agent Mary McCarthy apparently suffered a major setback with the end of the Clinton Administration. Until that time, Ms. McCarthy had been on the intelligence equivalent of the career fast-track; in barely a decade, she climbed from obscure analyst at CIA Headquarters to the National Intelligence Officer for Warning (NIO), a feat of bureaucratic advancement that it simply stunning. ...
But with the arrival of the Bush team, McCarthy was apparently banished back to Langley, and wound up with a rather mundane posting to boot. ... That begs some obvious questions: first of all, when McCarthy left the Clinton White House, what position did she enter at Langley? ... Which brings us to question #2: what exactly happened that led to McCarthy's posting in the CIA IG? Did she spend the last five years of her career in that backwater, or did she return to an NIO-level job, before being shifted to the IG's office? ...
The former NIO's planned retirement might also have been intended to provide legal cover for the disclosure effort. The leaker (or perhaps, leakers) apparently reasoned that the agency would be reluctant to prosecute her after she left Langley, to avoid the possible compromise of other intel programs and sources. McCarthy clearly erred in believing that she could get out of Langley before being discovered; but on the legal count, the leaker(s) may be correct. ...
Did Mary McCarthy have any help? That's an intriguging question. Here are some thoughts that suggest she might not be the only leaker. First, it is clear that the covert prisons were a closely-held secret. That would suggest that they fell under a SAR/SAP (Special Access Required/Special Accees Program), with its own set of security rules, and (possibly) special facilities where only those "read-in" could discuss the program. Correspondingly, only a small number of agency employees knew about the prisons--until Dana Priest published her front-page expose? Was Mary McCarthy among that number? Perhaps, but that raises another important issue: why would the agency assign a departing staffer to handle IG issues relating to one of its most sensitive programs?
Unfortunately, the answers to such questions are in short supply, and it should probably stay that way.
This is fascinating. We are watching a real, live game of Spy vs Spy. Except that in this case the players are not, or I think are not the Rooskies versus the Americans. The players are wearing different jerseys. Like In From the Cold, I wonder when this game started. What did Ariel Durant say? "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."
Right Wing Nuthouse says that Ty Cobb, Mary McCarthy's lawer has represented the Clinton Whitehouse Travel Office, was "a member of the First Lady’s staff in connection with the Congressional and Independent Counsel investigations into "Whitewater", and represented Juan Huang. A go-to guy.