Intelligence Identities Protection Act
The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 is a United States federal law that makes it a federal crime for those with access to classified information
Classified information
Classified information is sensitive information to which access is restricted by law or regulation to particular groups of persons. A formal security clearance is required to handle classified documents or access classified data. The clearance process requires a satisfactory background investigation...

, or those who systematically seek to identify and expose covert agents and have reason to believe that it will harm the foreign intelligence activities of the U.S., to intentionally reveal the identity of an agent whom one knows to be in or recently in certain covert roles with a U.S. intelligence agency, unless the United States has publicly acknowledged or revealed the relationship.


The law was written, in part, as a response to several incidents where Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 agents' identities were revealed. Under then existing law, such disclosures were legal when they did not involve the release of classified information. In 1975, CIA Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 station chief Richard Welch
Richard Welch
Richard Skeffington Welch , a Harvard-educated classicist, was a CIA Station Chief killed by the radical Marxist organization Revolutionary Organization 17 November .-Early life and CIA career:...

was assassinated by the Greek
Politics of Greece
The Politics of Greece takes place in a large parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Greece is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Hellenic Parliament...

 terrorist group November 17
Revolutionary Organization 17 November
Revolutionary Organization 17 November , was a Marxist urban guerrilla organization formed in 1975 and believed to have been disbanded in 2002 after the arrest and trial of a...

 after his identity was revealed in several listings by a magazine called CounterSpy
CounterSpy is a proprietary spyware removal program for Microsoft Windows software developed by Sunbelt Software.-Features:CounterSpy scans a PC for spyware, examining files on the hard drive, objects in memory, the Windows registry and cookies and it has a capability called DNR that, according to...

edited by Timothy Butz. A local paper checked with CounterSpy to confirm his identity. However, the linkage between the publication of Welch's name and his assassination has been challenged by pundits that claim he was residing in a known CIA residency (Garwood, "Under Cover").

Another major impetus to pass the legislation was the activities of ex-CIA agent Philip Agee
Philip Agee
Philip Burnett Franklin Agee was a Central Intelligence Agency case officer and writer, best known as author of the 1975 book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, detailing his experiences in the CIA. Agee joined the CIA in 1957, and over the following decade had postings in Washington, D.C., Ecuador,...

 during the 1960s and 70s. Agee's book CIA Diary and his publication of the Covert Action Information Bulletin (CAIB) blew the cover of many agents. Some commentators say the law was specifically targeted at his actions, and one Congressman, Bill Young
Bill Young
Charles William "Bill" Young is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1971. He is a member of the Republican Party, and is currently the longest-serving Republican member of Congress...

, said during a House
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 debate that "What we're after today are the Philip Agees of the world."

The law passed the House by a vote of 315–32, with all opposing votes coming from Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. The law passed the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 81–4, with the opponents being Democratic Senators Joseph Biden, Gary Hart
Gary Hart
Gary Hart is an American politician, lawyer, author, professor and commentator. He served as a Democratic Senator representing Colorado , and ran in the U.S...

, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Daniel Patrick "Pat" Moynihan was an American politician and sociologist. A member of the Democratic Party, he was first elected to the United States Senate for New York in 1976, and was re-elected three times . He declined to run for re-election in 2000...

, and Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Senator Charles Mathias.

, there has only been one successful prosecution involving the statute. In 1985, CIA agent Sharon Scranage
Sharon Scranage
Sharon Scranage is a former CIA employee who was jailed for revealing the identities of CIA agents.Scranage, who worked in Ghana in the role of Operations Support Assistant, passed classified information to her boyfriend, Michael Soussoudis...

 was sentenced to five years, and served 8 months, for giving the names of other agents to her boyfriend in Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...


Valerie Plame affair

Between 2003 and 2007, an investigation was conducted by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald
Patrick Fitzgerald
Patrick J. Fitzgerald is the current United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and a member of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel...

 into whether this law and others were violated in the identification of Valerie Plame
Valerie Plame
Valerie Elise Plame Wilson , known as Valerie Plame, Valerie E. Wilson, and Valerie Plame Wilson, is a former United States CIA Operations Officer and the author of a memoir detailing her career and the events leading up to her resignation from the CIA.-Early life :Valerie Elise Plame was born on...

 as a CIA operative in a 2003 newspaper column by Robert Novak
Robert Novak
Robert David Sanders "Bob" Novak was an American syndicated columnist, journalist, television personality, author, and conservative political commentator. After working for two newspapers before serving for the U.S. Army in the Korean War, he became a reporter for the Associated Press and then for...

. As a result of the investigation, former Vice Presidential chief of staff "Scooter" Libby was convicted on two counts of perjury
Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding. That is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the...

, one count of obstruction of justice
Obstruction of justice
The crime of obstruction of justice, in United States jurisdictions, refers to the crime of interfering with the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other officials...

 and one count of making false statements to federal investigators and sentenced to 30 months in jail. In a court filing related to Libby's sentencing, the CIA stated that Plame was a covert agent at the time of the leak. In addition, the leak enabled the identification of Plame as an employee of the CIA front company, Brewster Jennings & Associates
Brewster Jennings & Associates
Brewster Jennings & Associates was a front company set up in 1994 by the Central Intelligence Agency as a "cover" for its agents. The most famous is Valerie Plame, a "covert employee of the CIA" whose employment status was "classified" and whose then-classified covert identity was published in a...

, and in doing so enabled the identification of other CIA agents who were "employed" there.

Who is Rich Blee?

In 2011 Ray Nowosielski and John Duffy of planned to release an audio documentary entitled "Who is Rich Blee?", focusing on the CIA's Bin Ladin unit
Bin Laden Issue Station
The Bin Laden Issue Station was a unit of the Central Intelligence Agency dedicated to tracking Osama bin Laden.Soon after its creation the Station developed a new, deadlier vision of bin Laden's activities. In 1999 the CIA inaugurated a grand "Plan" against al-Qaeda, but struggled to find the...

 before 9/11, and the way certain CIA officials blocked information on 9/11 hijackers from reaching the FBI before 9/11. In the documentary they planned to reveal the identity of two CIA agents. One of them is "Frances", the red-headed CIA agent mentioned in several reports on the War on Terror, including Jane Mayer's The Dark Side
The Dark Side (book)
The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals is a non-fiction book written by Jane Mayer concerning the War on Terrorism, Islamic radicalism, and the "closed-doors domestic struggle over whether" U.S. President George W. Bush should have "limitless...

 and an AP news story from 2011 about the Khalid El-Masri
Khalid El-Masri
Khalid El-Masri is a German citizen who was kidnapped in the Republic of Macedonia, flown to Afghanistan, allegedly beaten, stripped, raped, and interrogated and tortured by the CIA for several months as a part of the War on Terror, and then released...

 case. However, after receiving threats under the IIPA, Duffy and Nowosielski decided to release the documentary with the names redacted.


Washington Post. Obituary: Richard S. Welch. 29 Dec. 1975, A16. "The murder of Richard S. Welch, CIA station chief in Athens, was the entirely predictable result of the disclosure tactics chosen by certain American critics of the agency as part of their effort to destroy it." Morton H. Halperin and National Security Issues—A Partial Record, Congressional Record, United States Senate - July 15, 1994, pg. S9109. Mission To Niger (Washington Post article by Robert Novak) "Libby Found Guilty of Perjury, Obstruction" (CNN Newsroom 6 March 2007) "Former White House Official Sentenced to Prison in CIA Leak Case" Voice of America 5 June 2007) "Plame was ‘covert’ agent at time of name leak" (MSNBC 29 May 2007) "Leak of Agent's Name Causes Exposure of CIA Front Firm" (Washington Post 4 October 2003) "Agee's Revenge" (Reason 14 July 2005)
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