David Martin On The CIA Leak Firing
This afternoon, I spoke to CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin to get a little context on the firing of Mary McCarthy, the CIA intelligence analyst who reportedly leaked classified information to the media about a network of secret CIA prisons.
Martin told me that people get outed as sources and punished "with greater regularity than people think."
"People get injured by being identified as a source," he said. "I can think of two people who were removed from their jobs at the National Security Council staff. They were put in dead end jobs. It effectively ended their careers in government."
Martin also discussed the circumstances that led the agency to aggressively seek out the sources for the story, noting that the Washington Post sourced its Pulitzer Prize winning story to current and former intelligence officers. "If they had just said intelligence sources, would that have prevented them from going after people still on the payroll? I don't know," he said. He noted, however, that the Post met with officials before publishing the story, and revealed to them that it had specific information about the location of the prisons. "They had pretty specific information and I think it would be logical for the government to assume that somebody who had the clearances for the program had to be a source," he said.
He lauded the Post for apparently describing its sources accurately. "Contrast that with Scooter Libby telling Judy Miller that some of that info he was giving her should have been attributed to a 'former hill staffer,'" he said.
As for the Post's responsibility to McCarthy, he said those at the paper have "just got to keep their mouth shut." He noted that the outing of McCarthy may get Dana Priest, the author of the piece, off the hook, since the government now had its source for her story. But he said the administration is "serious" about going after leaks, and "the really controversial stuff hasn't started yet. Porter Goss wants grand juries where reporters are asked to reveal their sources. Dana Priest may be off the hook now…but you've got the other [story] out there which is the eavesdropping. Like the secret prisons, it's very tightly compartmented program. There's a finite universe of people who were briefed."