NEWS & EDITOR’S COMMENT: Not a counterintelligence case?

How big a role did disgraced CIA officer have?

There’s new information about the young Lebanese woman who pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges she lied about her background to get jobs at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency.

Current and former intelligence officials tell NBC News that Nada Nadim Prouty had a much bigger role than officials at the FBI and CIA first acknowledged. In fact, Prouty was assigned to the CIA’s most sensitive post, Baghdad, and participated in the debriefings of high-ranking al-Qaida detainees.

A former colleague called Prouty “among the best and the brightest” CIA officers in Baghdad. She was so exceptional, agree officials of both agencies, the CIA recruited her from the FBI to work for the agency’s clandestine service at Langley, Va., in June 2003. She then went to Iraq for the agency to work with the U.S. military on the debriefings. [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — Sometimes the press can’t resist jumping on a narrative that seems irresistable even if it might not be true. If this is really a tale of intelligence intrigue on a par with the best ones from the Cold War, how come Nada Nadim Prouty is merely facing charges of violating immigration laws and making unauthorized computer searches? No doubt there are and should be strict regulations preventing government officials accessing classified records for personal reasons, but the Hezbollah angle on this story sounds utterly contrived. Somehow, I don’t imagine that Prouty truly stands out as a disgraced CIA officer if the main thing she is guilty of is using the privileges provided by her position just to look for information about her own relatives.

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