Suit: CIA knew Iraq was nuclear-free

A former employee has claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency was told by an informant in the spring of 2001 that Iraq had abandoned a major element of its nuclear weapons programme, The New York Times reported.

    Iraq had abandoned its nuclear weapons programme years ago

    The New York Times reported on Monday that the agency did not share the information with other agencies or with senior policy-makers.

    In a lawsuit filed in the federal court in December, the former CIA officer, whose name remains secret, said the informant had told him that Iraq's uranium enrichment programme had ended years earlier and that the centrifuge components from the scuttled programme were available for examination and purchase.
    The paper said the officer, an employee at the agency for more than 20 years, was fired in 2004.

    In his lawsuit, he says his dismissal was punishment for his reports questioning the agency's assumptions on a series of weapons-related matters, according to The Times.

    He also charged that he had been the target of retaliation for his refusal to go along with the agency's intelligence conclusions.

    Documents censored

    While the existence of the lawsuit was previously reported, details of the case have not been made public, because the documents in his suit have been heavily censored by the government and the substance of the claims was classified, the paper said. 

    "In both cases, officials brought unwelcome information on WMD in the period prior to the Iraq invasion, and retribution followed"

    Roy Krieger,
    Former CIA officer's lawyer

    Information about his allegations was provided to The Times by several people with detailed knowledge of the case.

    The former officer's lawyer, Roy Krieger, likened his client's situation to that of Valerie Plame, the clandestine CIA officer whose role was leaked to the press after her husband publicly challenged some administration conclusions about Iraq's nuclear ambitions, the report said.

    "In both cases, officials brought unwelcome information on WMD in the period prior to the Iraq invasion, and retribution followed," Krieger was quoted in the report as saying.

    The former officer has been accused of having sex with a female contact and diverting to his own use money earmarked for payments to informants. He denies both charges, according to The Times.



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