Former CIA Director compared prosecuting leakers under the Espionage Act to “driving tacks with a sledge hammer”
Just months before the government’s first successful use of the Espionage Act against someone for leaking to the media, a declassified report written by then-CIA Director William Casey argued that just such an act would be irresponsible.
A 1987 report from the National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee offers insight into the drug threats that concerned the Reagan era.
Fresh on the heels of Iran-Contra, the CIA refused to allow the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit the Agency “with respect to funds authorized for the Nicaraguan Resistance,” insisting that since any such funds would break the law, there was nothing for GAO to audit, and therefore GAO’s request was being denied. Similarly, any other hypothetical assistance to the Nicaraguan Resistance would have been subject to Congressional oversight, and on which grounds the Agency would similarly deny the GAO access.
During the ’80s, CIA’s efforts to shut down the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) access to the Agency not only went on unchecked, but reached a new level of success when the Agency convinced Congress to further consolidate Oversight within the intelligence committees. Not only did this nearly cut the GAO out entirely, but it allowed the CIA to spread its exemption to other agencies eager to avoid an audit.
A formerly TOP SECRET memo to the CIA Director written by the Agency’s Office of Political Analysis shows that as early as August 1980, the Agency had concluded Iranian hardliners such as Ayatollah Khomeini were “determined to exploit the hostage issue to bring about President Carter’s defeat in the November elections.” While the document doesn’t prove the Reagan campaign intended to collude with Iran, it does document Iran’s motives and matches the October Surprise narrative outlined by former CIA officers.