Published October 02, 2003
WASHINGTON – The father of slain CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann (search) said Thursday he believes an independent counsel should investigate allegations that someone in the Bush administration exposed a CIA officer's identity — an act he called treasonous.
Spann, the first American killed in Afghanistan (search), died in a prison uprising. His father, also named Johnny Spann, said he is still angry because he feels his son's identity and hometown were disclosed before his son's family could be adequately protected.
Democrats in Congress, led by Sen. Charles Schumer (search), D-N.Y., are calling for a special counsel to be appointed to investigate who exposed a CIA operative who is married to a former ambassador, Joseph C. Wilson. Wilson had accused the administration of manipulating intelligence to exaggerate the threat posed by Iraq.
"If someone in the Bush administration leaked this, they need to be punished, and they need to be made an example of, because that's not just a leak, that's treason," Spann, of Winfield, Ala., told The Associated Press. "They should appoint an independent counsel so the American people can be sure, and let the chips fall where they may."
The officer's name first appeared in a July 14 story by syndicated columnist Robert Novak, and she was identified later by Newsday as an undercover officer.
Former CIA covert operations officer Bart Bechtel (search) said the key issue is exactly what the officer's position was at the CIA at the time her name appeared.
"In general terms, it is not all right to identify a covert employee," said Bechtel. "That being said, many covert employees, especially case officers out there doing their jobs, it doesn't take long for them to be recognized as agency."