CIA Sues over Whistleblower Book

Jeff Stein reports that, after months of rumors this would happen, the CIA has sued Ishmael Jones for publishing The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture without approval from CIA’s review board.

The Justice Department suit, on behalf of the spy agency, seeks “an injunction against any further violations of ‘Jones’ secrecy obligations and recovery of the proceeds from the unauthorized publication.”

It cited as precedent Snepp vs. United States, the 1980 Supreme Court decision against former CIA officer Frank Snepp that validated the agency requirement that employees submit their writings for approval as a fiduciary obligation.

As a result of the decision, the government was able to seize Snepp’s profits from the book. Snepp subsequently wrote a second book, “Irreparable Harm: A Firsthand Account of How One Agent Took on the CIA in an Epic Battle Over Free Speech,” which was cleared by the agency.

Like Snepp, whose memoir “Decent Interval” harshly criticized CIA activities at the end of the Vietnam War, Jones maintains that his book contained “no classified information.”

He said he used a pseudonym because “I was under deep cover for most of my career, so to use my real name might expose people I’ve met.”

Publishing the book without approval was necessitated because “there are no viable whistleblower mechanisms within the CIA,” he said.

I guess, unlike Bob Woodward, Jones is one of the people whom the President won’t allow to leak secrets.

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  1. manys says:

    So wait, under Snepp do CIA employees give up a portion of their 1A rights when they sign the employment agreement? Is it really perpetual?

  2. WilliamOckham says:

    I own that book (but the Kindle version, so it could be disappeared at any time). There really is absolutely nothing in the book that should really be secret. I would take issue with some of the guy’s policy prescriptions, but he should be commended for publishing the book. And, too, I’m gonna be mad if my money goes to the CIA.