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Leaked: CIA aims crackdown on leaks inside CIA

Leaked: CIA aims crackdown on leaks inside CIA
The director of the CIA has outlined plans to launch a new campaign aimed at keeping the organization’s operations secret. The memo, issued by director John Brennan, was itself leaked late on Wednesday.

The ‘Honor the Oath’ campaign has the intention of reinforcing “our corporate culture of secrecy” according to the memo, which was obtained by Associated Press. The document had been labeled unclassified and for official use only.

Brennan wrote that the campaign is a result of a CIA security review conducted last summer by the organization’s former director, David Petraeus, after “several high-profile anonymous leaks and publications by former senior officers,” were identified, according to Brennan.

It also outlined the necessity to take a harsher stance on former employees who were intending to publish materials about their time in the organization.

The CIA declined to comment on the leak after AP contacted it.

The news has been seeing a decline in the availability of its sources in recent months.

The US Department of Justice seized two months’ worth of phone records belonging to journalists in May, in an act the news agency’s CEO condemned as a “massive and unprecedented intrusion.”

Attorney General Eric Holder commented following the exposure that the leaking of intelligence out of the CIA and to AP was a major blow to the US and put the nation’s security at risk.

It was widely believed that phone records were obtained as part of a criminal investigation into leaked information about a CIA operation in Yemen that unraveled an Al-Qaeda plot in the spring of 2012.

AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said earlier this month that sources have stopped speaking to the agency, and that “longtime trusted sources” were becoming anxious about conversing with AP, even on issues unrelated to national security.

Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan.(Reuters / Jason Reed)

The leaking of the 'Honor the Oath' memo to AP emerges in the fallout of Snowden’s release of documents outlining the wide-scale surveillance efforts of the US government. He reportedly used a simple USB flash drive to distribute the information.

However, since the 2008 Buckshot Yankee incident, known as “the worst breach of military computers in history,” there has been a ban on flash drives in the organization. A worm named agent.btz was uploaded to the computer network, which the government took over a year to get rid of.

On Saturday, the White House granted some exceptions to the USB ban, allowing staff members who administer secure computer networks to use the USB ports, according to Reuters. The use of flash drives remains legally barred and most users have restricted profiles, with their computers not capable of recognizing either flash drives or similarly portable devices, including BlackBerrys, that may be plugged into USB ports.

Snowden leaked top-secret documents to the Washington Post and the Guardian that demonstrated the existence of the US National Security Agency’s extensive spying program called PRISM. The program was designed to collect information about digital communications allowing real-time online surveillance of US citizens. He has been charged with violating the 1917 Espionage Act.

Leaking has plagued the security agency over the past year as various officials have stepped forward to reveal pieces of information about CIA operations.

A leaked CIA memo dated April 2012 showed that George Bush knew that US torture equated to “war crime.”According to a secret memo obtained by Wired magazine, dated February 15, 2006, State Department counselor Philip Zelikow warned the White House that controversial interrogation techniques such as water boarding, stress positions and cramped confinement are prohibited under US law.

“Under American law, there is no precedent for excusing treatment that is intrinsically ‘cruel’, even if the state asserts compelling need to use it,” the memo said.

A film released last year entitled titled Zero Dark Thirty, covers last year’s raid by US commandos on the Pakistani compound where Osama Bin Laden was hiding. Hollywood filmmakers had been given information about the operation that had been previously undisclosed, sparking a senate investigation. 

A US government source told Reuters last August that US President Barack Obama had signed a secret order allowing the CIA and other American agencies to support rebels seeking to overthrow the Assad regime.