Gibson claimed without evidence that the CIA "thinks" McCarthy leaked CIA secret prison info

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

John Gibson claimed that the CIA "thinks" former intelligence officer Mary O. McCarthy "might have been a source" for Washington Post staff writer Dana Priest's article that first reported the alleged existence of CIA "black site" prisons in Eastern Europe. In fact, while initial reports indicated that McCarthy had admitted to leaking classified information on the prisons, McCarthy has since denied doing so, and the CIA has not drawn a connection between McCarthy and the revelation of the alleged secret prisons.

On the April 27 edition of Fox News' The Big Story, host John Gibson claimed that the CIA "thinks" former intelligence officer Mary O. McCarthy "might have been a source" for Washington Post staff writer Dana Priest's November 2, 2005, article, which first reported on the alleged existence of CIA "black site" prisons in Eastern Europe. In fact, while initial reports indicated that McCarthy had admitted to leaking classified information on the prisons, she has since denied doing so, and subsequent news reports contradict Gibson's claim -- noting that the CIA "is not asserting that McCarthy was a key source of Priest's award-winning articles" and that the CIA has not drawn a connection between McCarthy and the leaking of information about the secret prisons. Gibson also wrongly claimed that McCarthy won a Pulitzer Prize for "expos[ing] a secret interrogation program" -- apparently confusing McCarthy with Priest, who won a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the alleged "black site" prisons.

In addition, Gibson revisited various falsehoods pertaining to the investigation into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, and he claimed that deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove "should get a medal" if he leaked Plame's identity because he "expos[ed] the cabal of CIA agents who have been actively working to undermine the administration's Iraq-war policy." Gibson went on to suggest that The New York Times and The Washington Post "are on Zarqawi and bin Laden's side" for praising the CIA prisons leak.

From the "My Word" segment of the April 27 edition of The Big Story with John Gibson:

GIBSON: Now, it's true that Mary McCarthy has been fired from her supervisory position at the CIA for allegedly leaking classified information. She denies it. But the CIA thinks she might have been a source for the Dana Priest story in The Washington Post about secret CIA prisons. She has been applauded by Senator John Kerry [D-MA] and others on the left for exposing the truth. Let's see, the anti-Bush people want Rove frog-marched across the White House lawn, but it's OK for Mary McCarthy to expose a secret interrogation program. In fact, she got a Pulitzer, and The Washington Post thinks that's right and proper. Plus, Rove frog-marched but not much interest in finding the leaker who told James Risen about the secret NSA wiretapping program that listened to Al Qaeda people talking to Americans.

Various media outlets initially reported that McCarthy had admitted to leaking information on the secret prisons. The Los Angeles Times reported on April 22: "The CIA has fired a senior officer for leaking classified information to news organizations, including material for Pulitzer Prize-winning stories in The Washington Post that said the agency maintained a secret network of prison facilities overseas for high-ranking terror suspects." However, subsequent stories noted that McCarthy has denied admitting such a leak. Also, the CIA has not accused McCarthy of leaking information about the prisons and has not explicitly connected her to this specific leak -- though the CIA maintains that McCarthy admitted to leaking classified information after failing a polygraph test. The Washington Post reported on April 25 that the CIA "is not asserting that McCarthy was a key source" for Priest's article. According to the April 25 Post article:

A lawyer representing fired CIA officer Mary O. McCarthy said yesterday that his client did not leak any classified information and did not disclose to Washington Post reporter Dana Priest the existence of secret CIA-run prisons in Eastern Europe for suspected terrorists.

The statement by Ty Cobb, a lawyer in the Washington office of Hogan & Hartson who said he was speaking for McCarthy, came on the same day that a senior intelligence official said the agency is not asserting that McCarthy was a key source of Priest's award-winning articles last year disclosing the agency's secret prisons.

[...]

Priest won the Pulitzer Prize this month for a series of articles she wrote last year about the intelligence community, including the revelation of the existence of CIA-run prisons in East European countries. The Post withheld the names of the countries at the Bush administration's request, and it attributed the information to current and former intelligence officials from three continents.

The articles sparked a wide-ranging CIA investigation that included polygraphing scores of officials who worked in offices privy to information about the secret prisons, including McCarthy and her boss, CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson. Nowhere in the CIA statement last week was McCarthy accused of leaking information on the prisons, although some news accounts suggested that the CIA had made that claim.

The New York Times reported on April 26:

The Central Intelligence Agency on Tuesday defended the firing of Mary O. McCarthy, the veteran officer who was dismissed last week, and challenged her lawyer's statements that Ms. McCarthy never provided classified information to the news media.

But intelligence officials would not say whether they believed that Ms. McCarthy had been a source for a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles in The Washington Post about secret C.I.A. detention centers abroad. Media accounts have linked Ms. McCarthy's firing to the articles, but the C.I.A. has never explicitly drawn such a connection.

Regarding Gibson's claim that McCarthy -- not Priest -- won the Pulitzer, one might have been able to dismiss it as a mere slip of the tongue but for the on-screen text, which read: "They want Rove frog-marched, but McCarthy gets a Pulitzer."

Gibson also stated during his April 27 "My Word" segment that Valerie Plame is "the one married to ambassador Joe Wilson, who she sent to Niger to investigate Saddam Hussein trying to buy yellowcake, an ingredient for a nuke bomb." Gibson's claim that Plame "sent" Wilson to Niger is highly disputed. As Media Matters for America noted, unnamed intelligence officials have been quoted in news reports claiming that the CIA -- not Plame -- selected Wilson for the mission. Also, CIA officials have reportedly disputed the portions of a classified State Department memo indicating Plame suggested Wilson for the mission. Additionally, Gibson's claim that yellowcake uranium is "an ingredient for a nuke bomb" is false. Yellowcake uranium is a lightly processed form of uranium ore, and contains a very low percentage of uranium-235 (U-235), the fissionable uranium isotope that powers nuclear reactors and is the fuel for nuclear weapons. (Raw uranium ore contains roughly 0.71 percent U-235). For uranium to be considered weapons-grade, it must be enriched to at least 90 percent U-235.

Gibson also claimed: "If Karl Rove had something to do with revealing her name, he might have broken a law. I'm on the record saying he should have gotten a medal for exposing the cabal of CIA agents who have been actively working to undermine the administration's Iraq-war policy." Gibson went on to ask: "So would I be right to conclude that The Washington Post and The New York Times are on Zarqawi and bin Laden's side? The trail of crumbs sure heads in that direction, but I guess it would be too much to say that, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it?"

From the April 27 edition of The Big Story with John Gibson:

GIBSON: Now it's time for "My Word." Let's see, Karl Rove was in front of the grand jury for the fifth time yesterday in the matter of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. She's the one married to ambassador Joe Wilson, who she sent to Niger to investigate Saddam Hussein trying to buy yellowcake, an ingredient for a nuke bomb.

If Karl Rove had something to do with revealing her name, he might have broken a law. I'm on the record saying he should have gotten a medal for exposing the cabal of CIA agents who have been actively working to undermine the administration's Iraq-war policy. Now, it's true that Mary McCarthy has been fired from her supervisory position at the CIA for allegedly leaking classified information. She denies it. But the CIA thinks she might have been a source for the Dana Priest story in The Washington Post about secret CIA prisons. She has been applauded by Senator John Kerry and others on the left for exposing the truth. Let's see, the anti-Bush people want Rove frog-marched across the White House lawn, but it's OK for Mary McCarthy to expose a secret interrogation program. In fact, she got a Pulitzer, and The Washington Post thinks that's right and proper. Plus, Rove frog-marched but not much interest in finding the leaker who told [New York Times reporter] James Risen about the secret NSA wiretapping program that listened to Al Qaeda people talking to Americans.

That leak was fine to The New York Times and The Washington Post and the others howling for Rove's head. I thought Rove should get a medal. They think the CIA agents working against Bush should get medals. Add to that Zarqawi and bin Laden threatening us again this week. Zarqawi said the worst is yet to come. Gee, he plans to trump 9-11. We have got a lot of dots to connect here, don't we?

Terrorists want to kill us, Bush wants to get them first. The liberal press wants to expose his efforts to do that and stop him, and when one of his assistants exposes the felonious leakers hiding in their CIA offices, the lib press wants him hanged but the others left alone.

So would I be right to conclude that The Washington Post and The New York Times are on Zarqawi and bin Laden's side? The trail of crumbs sure heads in that direction, but I guess it would be too much to say that, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it?

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Intelligence
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
John Gibson
Show/Publication
The Big Story with John Gibson
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