I was temporarily heartened to read this today:
A former agent for the FBI and CIA pleaded guilty Tuesday to faking a marriage to win U.S. citizenship, clearing the way to being hired and given security clearances by the two intelligence agencies.
Nada Nadim Prouty, 37, emigrated to United States from Lebanon in 1989. She was given U.S. citizenship five years later and began working as a special agent at the FBI's field office in Washington in 1999, according to a criminal information sheet filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
While working as a special agent, Prouty improperly searched an FBI computer database for information about her relatives and links they might have to the Hezbollah terrorist organization, the criminal sheet showed. She joined the CIA in 2003 and resigned as part of her guilty plea Tuesday, officials said.
There's no evidence that Prouty was working as a spy on Hezbollah's behalf, two government officials said.
However, "This still continues to be an ongoing investigation," said FBI spokesman Stephen Kodak in Washington.
I thought that perhaps the FBI has finally adopted standard techniques of using unauthorized access records by its employees to ferret out potential spies and leakers. And then I read this from Debbie Schlussel and wondered why it took them more than a few minutes to figure this one out:
Update: Newsweek has more details on the Prouty case ,including these :
And get this: The FBI and U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy (and before him, U.S. Attorneys Craig Morford and Jeffrey Collins) knew Prouty was a spy for Hezbollah back in 2003, but they allowed her to work for the FBI for over FOUR Years! They did not remove her from the job until the end of this past September--1.5 years after her brother-in-law was indicted for financing Hezbollah!!!!!!
And I was right on another thing. She will do no or almost no jail time.
After joining the CIA in June 2003, Prouty was an undercover officer for the agency's National Clandestine Service, the espionage division, working on Middle East-related cases. She was reassigned to a less sensitive position about a year ago, after she first came under suspicion, officials said.
Prosecutors have not charged Prouty with espionage. Nonetheless, the case remains an "ongoing investigation" and "that is obviously something we're looking at," a senior law enforcement official said. Her lawyer declined comment today. Under the terms of her plea agreement, she faces six to twelve months behind bars, and could be stripped of her U.S. citizenship.
The case is clearly a major embarrassment for both the FBI and CIA and has already raised a host of questions. Chief among them: how did an illegal alien from Lebanon who was working as a waitress at a shish kabob restaurant in Detroit manage to slip through extensive security background checks, including polygraphs, to land highly sensitive positions with the nation's top law enforcement and intelligence agencies?
Update: Al Johnson notes:Update: Here is the complaint in the Prouty case.
The publicly available information states that the FBI only became aware of the "compromise" in 2005, and there's no reason to doubt this damaging admission on their part. This was a case of the FBI not knowing what they knew--or would have known if they had paid attention to their own computer use audit records. This is a serious indictment of an counterintelligence organization, whose top priority should be protecting itself from penetrations by other state or non-state agents. The fact is, the information the FBI came up with about Prouty's computer use was obtained only retrospectively, long after the cow was out of the barn. It should have been obtained as a result of routine security measures.