Washington In an unusual move, the CIA has fired an employee for leaking classified information to the news media, including details about secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe that resulted in a Pulitzer Prize-winning story, officials said Friday.
The Associated Press has learned the officer was Mary McCarthy, a CIA veteran nearing retirement. Reached Friday evening at home, her husband would not confirm her firing.
In McCarthy's final position at the CIA, she was assigned to its Office of Inspector General, looking into allegations the CIA was involved in torture at Iraqi prisons, according to a former colleague who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is under investigation.
Without identifying McCarthy by name, CIA Director Porter Goss announced the firing in a short message to agency employees circulated Thursday. It is the first time since Goss took over in September 2004, vowing to clamp down on leaks, that he has dismissed an intelligence officer for speaking with reporters.
Agency spokesman Paul Gimigliano confirmed an officer had been fired for having unauthorized contacts with the media and disclosing classified information to reporters.
"The officer has acknowledged unauthorized discussions with the media and the unauthorized sharing of classified information," Gimigliano said. "That is a violation of the secrecy agreement that everyone signs as a condition of employment with the CIA."
The official said the CIA officer had provided information that contributed to a Washington Post story last year disclosing secret U.S. prisons in Eastern Europe. The law enforcement official spoke only on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the matter.
The Post's Dana Priest won a Pulitzer Prize this week for her reporting on a covert prison system set up by the CIA after Sept. 11, 2001.