FAS | Government Secrecy | News ||| Index | Search | Join FAS

Congressional Record: May 18, 1999 (Extensions)
Page E1001


                          HON. TOM DeLAY
                                of texas
                    in the house of representatives
                         Tuesday, May 18, 1999

  Mr. DeLAY. Mr. Speaker, I insert the following speech for the 
Congressional Record.

 Mandatory Penalties for Exposing the Identities of U.S. Intelligence 

       Mr. Speaker, I commend Congressman Sweeney for bringing 
     this subject to our attention. The nation is being confronted 
     every day it seems with graver and more alarming revelations 
     about breaches of our national security at our weapons labs 
     and other facilities. It should not be overlooked that it was 
     due in large part to the efforts of our intelligence agents 
     that these breaches were first suspected and then 
     subsequently investigated by the FBI and others.
       So, it is appropriate at this time to increase the 
     protection for both current and former covert intelligence 
     officers around the world by increasing the criminal 
     penalties for those who willfully divulge their identities to 
     the world. Anyone who deliberately puts American agents' 
     lives, those of their families, and America's security at 
     risk should face a minimum sentence in prison as well. Mr. 
     Sweeney's amendment does that by establishing mandatory 
     minimum sentences for willfully identifying covert agents.
       As many of us recall, the current law, the Intelligence 
     Identities Protection Act, was passed after the CIA Station 
     Chief in Greece, Richard Welch, was assassinated after 
     Counter Spy exposed his identity. Ex-CIA agent Phillip Agee 
     was also responsible for repeated disclosures of the names of 
     intelligence personnel and the Supreme Court held that such 
     disclosures are not protected under the First Amendment.
       The amendment also addresses the absurdity in the law that 
     allows people to obtain information about former U.S. 
     intelligence activities under the Freedom of Information Act, 
     but does not prohibit people from turning around and 
     identifying intelligence agents who have retired.
       To address this shortcoming, the amendment expands the law 
     to include former covert agents under its protections because 
     identifying former agents, their activities and locations not 
     only compromises on-going intelligence efforts, but exposes 
     the former agents and their families to danger and 
     retaliation from our nation's adversaries.
       Any individual who has served our country at considerable 
     risk to themselves and their families deserves all the 
     protection we can provide under the law--not only while they 
     serve, but when they retire as well. In this day of vicious, 
     global terrorism, exposing current or former intelligence 
     agents should be subject to severe and mandatory criminal 
       The amendment does that and I urge members to vote for it.

FAS | Government Secrecy | News ||| Index | Search | Join FAS