(CN) – The government filed three new motions this week in its case against former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, including one that accused his lawyers of sending jurors down a rabbit hole to Wonderland by arguing that “everybody” in the CIA leaks secret information.
First, prosecutors moved to admit statements from James Risen, the reporter to whom Sterling allegedly leaked information, as well as Condoleezza Rice and a CIA operative identified only as “Human Asset No. 1.”
The government asked the court to admit Risen’s 2003 telephone conversation with the director of the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs, and a set of talking points delivered by Rice at a White House meeting with New York Times reporters, including Risen.
According to Rice’s affidavit, “the talking points had been prepared and given to me by officials of the Central Intelligence Agency,” and addressed issues about classified information.
Additionally, the government wishes the court to consider Human Asset No. 1’s excited utterances in statements made to his CIA case officer. After reading Chapter 9 of James Risen’s book, State of War, which discusses the CIA’s attempt to have a former Russian scientist pass on fake and intentionally flawed nuclear blueprints to Iran, Human Asset No. 1 “realized that his identity and association with the CIA had been compromised, and made his statements while still under the stress of the continuing fear of reprisal and violence,” the motion said.
His case officer will testify that “he had never seen Human Asset No. 1 so shaken and scared than on that day.”
Second, the government notified the court that it will call Charles A. Duelfer, former special advisor to the director of central intelligence for Iraq WMD, as its expert witness.
According to the motion, “he will testify that nuclear proliferation is a huge issue for us and our allies, and understanding it and getting as much data about it as possible are critical.”
Duelfer will seek to convince the court that “if the unauthorized disclosures of classified information in this case have compromised any potential source of information about Iranian nuclear weapons capabilities, that compromise was damaging to our national security.”
Third, the government sought to place limits on evidence and arguments that the Sterling may present in his defense. It asked the court to bar Sterling from arguing that a third-party may have been source of the leak.
In particular, Sterling has pointed out that certain members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) may have been the Risen’s source. “All of the SSCI staffers have denied being a source for Risen, and the defendant has proffered no evidence to suggest otherwise,” the motion argues.
The government also contends that the court should prohibit Sterling from presenting evidence that “everybody does it” – that is, everybody leaks classified information.
“The introduction of such evidence or arguments would force mini-trials over the similarities and differences between the present prosecution and every other specific instance of leaked classified information,” the motion asserted.
Finally, the motion sought to preclude Sterling from arguing in any way that the CIA was “out to get the defendant” or that there is a conspiracy to frame him.
“Any arguments or comments that the CIA engages in misconduct or has manipulated documents or evidence in order to blame the defendant for the disclosure of national defense information appearing in Chapter 9 lacks any merit and will needlessly send the Court, the parties, and the jury down an endless Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit hole,” they concluded.
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