from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2012, Issue No. 103
October 9, 2012

Secrecy News Blog:


The trial of former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who is accused of making unauthorized disclosures of classified information, has yet to begin. But prosecutors and defense attorneys are now locked in a dispute over what classified information must be provided to the defense and can be cleared for disclosure at trial.

The resolution of the current pre-trial arguments may have a decisive effect not only on the outcome of Mr. Kiriakou's proceeding but on the future use of the Espionage Act to penalize leaks of classified information. That's because the pending disagreements involving the nature of the charge will determine the standard by which the defendant will be judged.

"The government has no obligation to prove, and does not intend to prove, that the defendant [Kiriakou] intended to harm the United States," prosecutors said in a September 26 motion that was unsealed last week.

"The government must prove only that the defendant had a 'reason to believe' that the information 'could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation'.... The defendant's intent to injure or serve the United States is not at issue."

Prosecutors rejected the contrary view of the defense that the government must demonstrate an intent by the defendant to harm the United States. In a separate pleading last week, they said that view reflects a "misplaced" reliance on a 2006 holding in the AIPAC case (US v. Rosen) in which the court imposed a more stringent "intent" requirement on the prosecution, particularly since the defendants there did not hold security clearances and were dealing with information transmitted orally rather than with classified documents.

"Rosen is distinguishable from this case... because Kiriakou transmitted the information electronically, not orally, and Kiriakou had a recognized obligation not to divulge classified, national defense information to those not entitled to receive it," prosecutors said October 2. (The latest defense argument on the subject is still under seal.)

But whether an email message is more like "documentary" information or like transcribed "oral" information seems to be an open question for the Kiriakou court to decide, along with other fateful questions about the use of the Espionage Act in leak cases.


Military chaplains in the U.S. Army must have at least a Secret clearance. "This allow them access to the unit operations center and ensures that the chaplain is involved in the unit's operational planning process."

A newly updated Army doctrinal publication on Religious Support, which describes the functions of chaplains, explains that "Religion plays an increasingly critical role... across the range of military operations."

"Chaplains and chaplain assistants continue to sustain programs that nurture ethical decision making and facilitate religious formation and spiritual development as an inseparable part of unit readiness."

"Throughout our history, chaplains and chaplain assistants have served alongside combat Soldiers, enduring the same hardships, and bearing the same burdens. They are members of the profession of arms."

"Chaplains have served in the U.S. Army since the first days of the American Revolution and many have died in combat. These chaplains represented more than 120 separate denominations and faith groups from across America."

"Six chaplains have been awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism above and beyond the call of duty," the new Army Field Manual 1-05 noted.

However, "chaplains are noncombatants and do not bear arms. Chaplains do not have command authority."

Essentially, chaplains are expected to fulfill "three basic core competencies: nurture the living, care for the wounded, and honor the dead."


Last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton informed Congress that U.S. national security interests required a waiver of statutory limitations on security aid to Pakistan. "The Secretary's accompanying justification for the waiver was delivered in classified form," a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service noted, adding that the waiver "appeared extremely difficult to justify" in view of Pakistan's uneven cooperation with U.S. and NATO forces. See Pakistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance, updated October 4, 2012:

Some other Congressional Research Service products that have not been made readily available to the public include the following.

Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations, updated October 3, 2012:

Federal Grants-in-Aid Administration: A Primer, October 3, 2012:

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): Welfare-to-Work Revisited, October 2, 2012:

Sequestration: A Review of Estimates of Potential Job Losses, October 2, 2012:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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