CIA Leaks to Iran


Um, what? This CNN story previewing State of War: the Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, by New York Times reporter James Risen, contains this little tidbit:

Several U.S. agents in Iran were rounded up after the CIA mistakenly revealed clues to their identities to a covert source who turned out to be a double agent, according to a book that hit shelves Tuesday.

Intelligence sources told CNN that the mistake did in fact happen, but that no CIA agents had been rolled up as a result:

The message to the double agent in Iran was sent in a high-speed encrypted transmission from the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, former officials said. It did not include names or identities of the other agents, but it did contain information that could help Iranian counterintelligence agents identify them.

Other CIA sources, however, apparently told Risen that several agents were “arrested and jailed” as a result. CNN says this all happened “last year,” which one assumes means 2005, although if it means 2004, that’s somewhat significant, since that would place the gaffe right around the time that the CIA was accusing Ahmed Chalabi of passing U.S. intelligence to contacts in Tehran. At the time, Chalabi’s intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, was also accused of being a “double agent”—although the odds that he would be the CIA’s “covert source” mentioned above seem virtually nil, since by 2004 the CIA had long since cut its ties with Chalabi. The two stories are probably just coincidental, though it seems like an awful lot of CIA secrets are being leaked to Iran these days…

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