We already have incontrovertible evidence that former CIA officer Michael Scheuer, who is now busy with a career equally divided between casting aspersions on American Jews and making a fool of himself, was incompetent at his job running the agency’s Osama bin Laden desk in the 1990’s, and was seen as such by those in charge.
Do we now have evidence of something else?
The Danish daily Politiken ran a story on Sunday reporting that “CIA renditions in Europe date back as far as the mid-1990’s.” The term “renditions” refers to the agency’s highly secret practice, some details of which have previously leaked out, of extraditing terrorism suspects from one foreign state to another for purposes of interrogation and prosecution.
Politiken went on, according to an AP summary, to provide specifics, including the fact that in 1995 U.S. agents seized an Egyptian by the name of Abu Talal, a senior member of the Egyptian terrorist organization al-Gama’a al-Islamiya, who had been granted political asylum in Denmark. He was reportedly nabbed while visiting Croatia and was turned over to Egypt, where he may have been executed.
Along with other unidentified CIA officials, Politiken cites Michael Scheuer as a source for this information, which is now stirring up anti-Americanism in Denmark.
CIA officers sign an oath not to disclose classified information when they take employment in the agency. The oath holds for life. If they want to talk about things they learned in the course of their work, they need to obtain CIA clearance first.
The Politiken story thus raises a number of questions:
1. Is the story accurate?
2. Assuming it is accurate, was the information about the rendition of Abu Talal classified?
3. Assuming it was classified, and that Scheuer, as opposed to the other unidentifiied CIA officials, was the primary source, did he have the CIA’s permission to talk about it?
4. Assuming he was the primary source and he did not have permission, and that the two preceding questions are answered in the affirmative, was a crime committed here?
Lawrence Franklin, a Defense Department official, was recently sentenced to more than twelve years in prison for leaking government secrets to two officials of AIPAC. Scheuer’s retired status would not seem to alter the basic elements of the crime. Title 18, Section 793 (d) of the United States Code makes liable for punishment “whoever . . . willfully communicates, delivers, [or] transmits” national-defense information “to any person not entitled to receive it.”
So here is a brace of final questions:
5. If the elements of a crime are in place, will be there an investigation? And is anyone at the CIA or the Department of Justice or in Congress paying attention?
If any readers can help me connect these dots, I would welcome hearing from them. Either post a comment below or, for private correspondence, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and put Connecting the Dots in the subject line.
A complete guide to other items in this Michael Scheuer Watch series can be found here.