US District Judge Royce Lamberth released hundreds of secret filings yesterday, saying the CIA falsely claimed that state secrets were involved in a 15-year-old wiretapping lawsuit, McClatchy reports. The agency allowed the judge to continue believing that an agent involved in the case was undercover, when in reality that cover had been lifted two years before. That led Lamberth to dismiss the case on national security grounds.
“The CIA was well-aware that the assertion of the state secrets privilege as to Brown was a key strategy in getting the case dismissed,” he wrote yesterday, calling it a “fraud on the court.” He ordered ex-CIA director George Tenet and five other officials to explain themselves or face sanction. He also questioned the testimony of current director Leon Panetta, saying it contained numerous discrepancies. At issue is a DEA agent's claim that his phone calls from Burma were illegally wiretapped. Presidents Clinton and Bush both fought to have the case dismissed. (Read more wiretapping stories.)