the new york times
In August of 1971, the White House directed the Central Intelligence Agency to conduct a “crash study of intelligence leaks” that had appeared in the press since the beginning of the Nixon Administration on January 20, 1969. That study resulted in a new proposal - an Agency created and maintained database of past and present leaks to help track their damage and identify the leakers. While ultimately successful, the creation of the database raised some unexpected questions for CIA, such as who should be responsible for it, what counted as a leak, and did the Agency care?
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-Central Intelligence Agency Director William Casey argued that just such an act would be irresponsible.
Clair George, the CIA officer who was placed in charge of briefing Congress on CIA’s activities, withheld information about the beginnings of the Iran-Contra affair, and was later convicted of lying to Congress. After an eight-month tenure that led to a nearly complete communications breakdown between the Agency and Congress, George was promoted to the third most senior position within the CIA.
Back in 2014, journalist J.K. Trotter received in response to a FOIL request correspondence between City University of New York and economist/New York Times columnist/cat aficionado Paul Krugman, regarding an upcoming gig at their Income Inequality Institute. While Krugman’s $225,000 salary drew significant attention, there was one email in particular that stood out for the hardcore Krugman wonks - the one about the selfies. In response, Trotter filed for said selfies, and the rest is #OpenGov history.
On September 17th in 1965, an odd memo was sent within the CIA praising nearly a decade’s worth of unofficial briefings with the press. Seemingly out of the blue, numerous contacts between Ray Cline, CIA’s Deputy Director for Intelligence, and the press were suddenly admitted and enumerated. When the memo was first discovered, it was unclear what prompted it, however another, recently unearthed memo implies that it came about because of a threat from a member of the Agency’s private press pool.