The CIA has been accused of yet another fraud. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth had referred a CIA attorney for disciplinary action and is considering further sanctions against five current and former CIA employees, including former CIA Director George Tenet, for misleading the court in a federal case.
The case involved a lawsuit by former agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency, Richard Horn, who claims that the CIA illegally wiretapped his home in Burma in 1993. Tenet told the court in a 2000 affidavit that the former station chief in Burma, Arthur Brown, was still a covert agent and thus the case against him should be dismissed. However, in 2002, the agent’s cover had been lifted but the CIA never informed the Court.
In a measure of the lack of trust and credibility given CIA representations in court, Judge Lamberth stated “The court does not give the government a high degree of deference because of its prior misrepresentations regarding the state secrets privilege in this case.”
The case continues Tenet’s checkered career. History will long note George W. Bush’s infamous awarding of Tenet with the Presidential Medal after he gave false information to Congress and the United Nations to justify the Iraq War and carried out a variety of unlawful programs after 9-11.
Lamberth’s action remains a rarity among federal court which often tolerate such false or misleading affidavits — refusing to allow opposing counsel to question the representations of the government.