Monday, April 24, 2006

Is Mary McCarthy Being Railroaded?

Mary MacCarthy is the Clinton appointed CIA analyst who last week confessed to leaking classified secrets to the Washington Post pertaining to secret CIA detention centers in Eastern Europe. Except that, according to this Newseek Story, she "categorically denies being the source of the leak". From the story:

McCarthy's lawyer, Ty Cobb, told NEWSWEEK this afternooon that contrary to public statements by the CIA late last week, McCarthy never confessed to agency interrogators that she had divulged classified information and "didn't even have access to the information" in The Washington Post story in question.

After being told by agency interrogators that she may have been deceptive on a question during a polygraph, McCarthy did acknowledge that she had failed to report contacts with Washington Post reporter Dana Priest and at least one other reporter, said a source familiar with her account who asked not to be identified because of legal sensitivities. McCarthy has known Priest for some time, the source said.

So, as it turns out, McCarthy was not fired for leaking a particular story, but merely for "unauthorized contacts with the media and discussion of classified information... with journalists."

More specifically:

A counter-terrorism official acknowledged to NEWSWEEK today that in firing McCarthy, the CIA was not necessarily accusing her of being the principal, original, or sole leaker of any particular story. Intelligence officials privately acknowledge that key news stories about secret agency prison and rendition operations have been based, at least in part, upon information available from unclassified sources.

It is also clear that Ms. McCarthy probably cannot be subject of a criminal prosecution. For one thing, the results of polygraph tests are usually inadmissible in court due to "doubts about the judicial doubts about the reliability and credibility of lie-detector machines." Furthermore, "...witnesses submitting to a polygraph examination usually give up their rights not to make self-incriminating statements. The use of any admissions McCarthy gave under these circumstances for a criminal investigation would therefore be problematic."

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