The crackdown begins

A not a minute too soon...

"CIA director Porter Goss is redoubling efforts to prevent agents from divulging the spy agency's secrets to the media, and also plans to clamp down on former spies publishing books about their covert careers, Time magazine has reported.

Citing an anonymous former senior Central Intelligence Agency official, Time, in a report to hit newsstands this week, said on its website that CIA officials told employees during a meeting last week that leaking had gotten out of control and needed to stop.

The reported added that a new clampdown on leakers had been launched, supported by a team of "mostly retired" agents contracted to scan the news media for possible leaks of classified material and to try to find the leakers responsible.

The internal crackdown follows recent media reports about the CIA's secret prison network for terror suspects and last month's disclosure in The New York Times that US President George W Bush authorised the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on the telephone calls of some Americans without court warrants.

The report said Goss also is worried about the potential impact of the leaks and insider books on the agency's security and clandestine operations.

"You don't want people who sit down with an (intelligence) officer in confidence to be concerned it will end up in the guy's memoirs in a year or two," one anonymous intelligence official told Time."

There is more than a concern. Consider the "scanners" "head-hunters". Only a beginning of what is to come.