For nearly a year, the Justice Department has been quietly investigating a group of lawyers sponsored, in part, by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) known as the John Adams Project. These lawyers have provided photographs of covert CIA operatives to members of al-Qaeda detained at Guantanamo Bay.
The investigation began after photographs of CIA officers were found in the cell of Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, currently held at Guantanamo Bay, who is accused of helping to finance the September 11th attacks. The photos appear to have been taken by private investigators hired to tail the officers by the John Adams Project.
If this seems pretty serious to you, it should. As John Rizzo, the CIA’s top attorney until December, recently shared in an interview with The Washington Times, there are two types of crimes that may have been committed. First, would be the disclosure of classified information – the identity of the operatives – to a foreign power. And second, knowingly disclosing the identity of CIA covert officers is a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.
If these charges prove true, the lawyers involved have threatened national security under the guise of providing their clients a vigorous defense. Unfortunately, many in the media and on Capitol Hill, who expressed outrage during the Valerie Plame scandal, can’t seem to be bothered to give this issue the scrutiny it deserves.
That is why earlier this week I sent a letter, this week, signed by roughly 50 members of the House, to the President urging him to ensure that the Justice Department conducts a full and thorough investigation into all those who might have participated in or supported efforts to place our covert operatives and their families in danger.
Reflecting on his life, John Adams once called his defense of British soldiers after the Boston massacre “one of the most gallant, generous, manly, and disinterested actions of my whole life, and one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country.” I couldn’t agree more. Sadly, it appears a group of lawyers associated with the ACLU have only tarnished Adams’ reputation by seeking to hide their subversive acts behind the reputation of our second President.
Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO) is Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee