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Fired CIA Officer Denies News Leaks

This undated image made from video and made available Saturday, April 22, 2006 by CNN shows Central Intelligence Agency analyst Mary McCarthy. The CIA fired a top intelligence analyst who admitted leaking classified information that led to a Pulitzer Prize-winning story about a network of secret CIA prisons, government officials say. The officer was McCarthy, The Associated Press learned. (AP Photo/CNN, HO)
AP Photo/CNN, HO
The CIA officer fired for unauthorized contacts with the media denies being a source for the Washington Post's award-winning story on secret CIA detention centers.

"She did not leak any classified information, and she did not have access to the information apparently attributed to her by some government officials," Washington lawyer Ty Cobb, who is representing veteran CIA analyst Mary McCarthy, said.

A law enforcement source, speaking last week on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, linked her to the Post's story about the CIA's covert sites in Eastern Europe and elsewhere used to hold terror suspects. The story caused an international clamor last fall.

The CIA said an employee was fired on Thursday for knowingly disclosing classified information, but gave no details and did not identify the employee. Cobb said McCarthy hopes to find a way to clear up the allegations and move on.

"Her hope is to be able to pursue her planned retirement from two decades of distinguished public service to do community service law," Cobb said.

Earlier Monday, a McCarthy friend and former professional associate also asserted she was not the Post's source. "She was not the source for that story," said Rand Beers, who has spoken with her.

Beers headed intelligence programs at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration at a time McCarthy also worked in the White House. He said McCarthy authorized him to make the brief statement, but declined to discuss the matter further.

Senior Bush administration officials have vowed to make clamping down on leaks of classified information a top priority — to the dismay of whistleblower advocates who find merit when the disclosures unveil wrongdoing.

Stephen Kohn, chairman of the National Whistleblower Center, said he believes McCarthy could have a strong case to contest her firing.

"If she was blowing the whistle on something that's illegal, it's our position you cannot classify the illegal conduct of government. You can't say that's a secret," Kohn said.