Judge accuses CIA of fraud in 15-year court case

Judge Lamberth

Judge Lamberth

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A 15-year old lawsuit against the CIA unexpectedly resurfaced yesterday, after a US federal judge accused the CIA attorneys of fraud and warned the former and current CIA leadership of serious legal sanctions. US District Judge Royce Lamberth said the CIA misled him on several occasions by falsely claiming that the “state secrets” clause applied to the case, which three consecutive US administrations have tried to bury. The case was filed in 1994 by retired Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer Richard A. Horn, who claimed that CIA agents illegally wiretapped his conversations while he was stationed in Burma. It appears that, at the time, the US diplomatic representation in Burma and the CIA station in Rangoon were at loggerheads with the DEA. The latter, represented by special agent Horn, had a policy of publicly commending the Burmese government for its significant efforts to end the illegal drug trade in the country. But the US embassy in Rangoon, supported by the CIA, felt that giving the government of Burma credit for its drug enforcement efforts would effectively amount to publicly supporting the Burmese military, which has controlled the country since 1990. Horn claims that, in an effort to sabotage the DEA activities in the country, Franklin Hurdle Jr., who was then US ambassador to Burma, and CIA officer Arthur Brown (who later headed the CIA’s East Asia division), illegally eavesdropped on his telephone communications with his DEA superiors and others. Interestingly, since the lawsuit was filed, the CIA has been claiming that it should remain under wraps to protect national security, while former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as the Obama administration, have argued that it should be dismissed on “national security” grounds. But Judge Lamberth recently discovered that Brown, who the CIA claimed was an undercover agent, ceased to operate undercover in 2002. This revelation prompted him to look deeper into the case and conclude that the CIA’s legal team has engaged in scores of “misrepresentations regarding the stated secrets privilege in this case”. Citing just one example, Judge Lamberth said the CIA even refused to admit that it possessed wiretapping equipment, even though this is confirmed on publicly available government documents, and even “a public online encyclopedia”. The Federal judge (who, as intelNews readers will recall, is a former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge) said the CIA attorneys, including Jeffrey Yeates, John Rizzo (see previous intelNewshere), and Robert T. Eatinger effectively waged “fraud on the court”, and called them to account for their actions. He also warned that former CIA director George Tenet, cu coverage rrent director Leon Panetta, and five other CIA officials, would face legal sanctions unless they justified and revised their previous testimonies in the case.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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