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the Washington Post

Former Agent Says CIA Ignored Findings on Iran

by
Joby Warrick

WASHINGTON - A former CIA operative who says he tried to warn the agency about faulty intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs now says that CIA officials also ignored evidence that Iran had suspended work on a nuclear bomb.

The onetime undercover agent, who has been barred by the CIA from using his real name, filed a motion in federal court late Friday asking the government to declassify legal documents describing what he says was a deliberate suppression of findings on Iran that were contrary to agency views at the time.

The former operative alleged in a 2004 lawsuit that the CIA fired him after he repeatedly clashed with senior managers over his attempts to file reports that challenged the conventional wisdom about weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Details of his allegation have not been made public because they describe events the CIA deems secret.

The consensus view on Iran's nuclear program shifted in December with the release of an intelligence report that concluded that Iran halted work on nuclear weapons design in 2003. The publication of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran undermined the CIA's rationale for censoring the former officer's lawsuit, said his lawyer, Roy Krieger.

"On five occasions he was ordered to either falsify his reporting . . . or not to file," Krieger said.

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In court documents and in statements by his lawyer, the former officer says that his 22-year CIA career collapsed after he questioned CIA doctrine about the nuclear programs of Iraq and Iran.

He was assigned undercover work in the Persian Gulf region, where he recruited an informant with information on Iran's nuclear program, Krieger said.

The informant provided evidence that Tehran had halted its research into building a nuclear weapon, court papers said. Yet, when the operative sought to file reports, his attempts were "thwarted by CIA employees," the documents say.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano declined to comment on the specifics but rejected the allegation about suppressed reports. "It would be wrong to suggest that agency managers direct their officers to falsify the intelligence they collect," he said.

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

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