WASHINGTON – A fired CIA employee, who collected prewar intelligence that Iraq was not developing weapons of mass destruction, can continue with a lawsuit challenging his dismissal, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler decided on technical grounds that the lawsuit could not be dismissed. But she did not rule on the covert agent's contention that he was fired because he refused to alter intelligence that contradicted Bush administration policies.
Kessler said in the ruling Friday that the covert agent, identified only as Doe, had the right to argue his firing was based on allegedly false information placed in his personnel file.
The agent said he collected intelligence from several countries in the Near East. "Obviously, Iraq was one of them," said the plaintiff's Washington attorney, Roy Krieger. The lawsuit does not name any of the countries.
The intelligence was collected as the United States prepared for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and President Bush justified the war on grounds that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons have been found.
The lawsuit said Doe's CIA superiors either refused to disseminate the intelligence or demanded he falsify his report to indicate several countries were developing the weapons.
The agent said he was told by superiors that President Bush would be informed of the intelligence, but the lawsuit contended the briefing never occurred.
The plaintiff said the CIA launched two sham investigations of him before his termination in September, 2004, accusing him of having sex with a female intelligence asset and diverting money designated for informers to his own use.
Kessler's ruling centered on Doe's assertion that his firing was based on inaccurate information in his personnel file.
She said Doe's allegation "is plausible."
"For example, he knows that the CIA initiated two investigations and he knows he was subsequently fired," she wrote. "It is not unreasonable to conclude, as plaintiff has alleged, that information recorded in his files as a result of the investigations was the cause of his termination."