The CIA criticized the Associated Press for “partially identifying several current and former officers,” YahooNews reported. The identification was made in an AP investigative report on “the spy agency’s ‘haphazard accountability’ and its common practice of promoting officers who’ve made ‘grave mistakes’ on the job.”
“The AP is identifying Matt, Paul and other current and former undercover CIA officers — though only by partial names — because they are central to the question of who is being held accountable and because it enhances the credibility of AP’s reporting in this case. AP’s policy is to use names whenever possible. The AP determined that even the most sophisticated commercial information services could not be used to derive the officers’ full names or, for example, find their home addresses knowing only their first names and the fact of their CIA employment. The AP has withheld further details that could help identify them.
However, the AP noted that “The CIA asked that the officers not be identified at all, saying doing so would benefit terrorists and hostile nations. Spokesman George Little called the AP’s decision ‘nothing short of reckless’ but did not provide any specific information about threats. The CIA has previously provided detailed arguments in efforts to persuade senior executives at the AP and other U.S. news organizations to withhold or delay publishing information it said would endanger lives or national security, but that did not happen in this case.’
Hat Tip: Romenesko