Angered by recent leaks of information about sensitive intelligence operations, CIA Director Porter Goss is redoubling efforts to get his spooks to keep their mouths shut. At staff meetings last week, CIA managers at the agency's Langley, Va., headquarters told employees that the leaking had got out of control and needed to stop. "They're exercised about it and are trying to do what they can to clamp down," a former senior CIA official tells TIME.
The Bush Administration seems apoplectic over the revelations in November about the CIA's secret network of terrorist-interrogation prisons and the disclosure in the New York Times last month that the President authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on the phone calls of some Americans without a warrant. The latter report was also in State of War, a book by Times reporter James Risen, who drew scathing condemnation from CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise Dyck last week. She charged that Risen "demonstrates an unfathomable and sad disregard for U.S. national security and those who take life-threatening risks to ensure it."
Goss is concerned about the potential effects of books written by those with inside knowledge of agency operations. Citing the book Jawbreaker, by a former CIA field commander who hunted for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and the movie Syriana, based on a retired CIA officer's book, an intelligence official says part of the worry is a possible "chilling effect" on both U.S. and foreign intelligence officials—as well as on secret assets. "You don't want people who sit down with an intel officer in confidence to be concerned it will end up in the guy's memoirs in a year or two," the official says. Goss has banned current CIA officers from publishing books and ordered stricter reviews of retirees' books.
Meanwhile, there are efforts within the government to identify leakers. The Justice Department is investigating who gave away the NSA secrets. While such probes rarely succeed, the department's new willingness to subpoen a reporters and their records could change that. And the CIA has a group of mostly retired officers on contract to read news stories that contain classified material and try to uncover their sources. This may be the toughest spook work. Over the years, the unit, nicknamed "the leak chasers" by some agency hands, has been able to finger only a few talkers. But it has an enthusiastic—and active—backer in Goss. He told TIME in June that he had made dozens of leak-investigation referrals. "Virtually every day I can pick up a paper and find somebody who is an anonymous source," he said. "That is willful. And it seems to me there ought to be a penalty for that."