America’s spy agencies have long been a source of inspiration to comedy writers, with their penchant for impenetrable doubletalk (“Get Smart,” “Dr. Strangelove,” Col. Flagg on “MASH”). But I pity the poor comedy writers struggling to come up with anything wackier than what’s actually being floated in federal court by the CIA.
As if to prove the FBI isn’t the only federal agency with a novel interpretation of how the Constitution works, the CIA is arguing that it shouldn’t have to comply with a Freedom of Information Request to provide “secret” information to an independent journalist, even though they already shared it with the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. The agency claims that the people they shared the information with are “trusted journalists,” even though they are professional secret blabbers with no security clearances. But it would endanger national security to share it with a journalist who doesn’t have the CIA’s seal of approval.
The journalist who filed the FOIA lawsuit claims – quite reasonably, I’d say – that it’s hard to believe this is top secret information whose disclosure would endanger national security when the CIA has already shown it to three major news outlets, whether they published it or not. The judge agreed and told the CIA to come up with a better excuse not to hand it over. That’s going to be tough. If they’d shared it with MSNBC or CNN, they could have argued that it didn’t matter because nobody would’ve believed them when they reported it anyway.
At least, we finally know why Hillary Clinton wasn’t prosecuted for leaking classified information. Our top intelligence agency actually defines “protecting sensitive classified information” as “sharing it only with reporters you really, really trust.”