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Spy on the Outs With CIA Loses Privacy Claim

(CN) - A federal judge threw out claims that the CIA violated the due-process and privacy rights of a former spy who blames the government for costing him a gig in biopharmaceuticals.

Identified in the ruling only as "Peter B," the spy first began working for the CIA in 1992 as a "covert contract employee."

Though the agency renewed Peter's contract through October 2002, his last investigation concluded in 1998.

Peter signed a statement acknowledging that he understood his contract had simply expired when he separated from the agency, but he subsequently claimed in a federal complaint that supposed defamatory statements about him in his filed factored into his termination, and that the CIA shared this negative information when he was up for a job with Abraxis in 2006, costing him employment there.

The CIA moved for summary judgment on Peter's claims under the Privacy Act and the Fifth Amendment, and U.S. District Judge Frederick Scullin agreed Wednesday that the lawsuit cannot go further.

As Peter failed to dispute, the CIA would have had a difficult time denigrating its spy to third party since the agency is extremely limited as to what it can disclose about covert operatives.

The most information that the agency could have given Abraxis was confirmation of Peter's employment date, salary and other basic employment information, according to the ruling.

Scullin also noted that the CIA has no such record that Peter ever asked it to release his employment history to a prospective employer, that the CIA ever received such a request, or that the CIA provided any information about Peter to Abraxis.

"If such an inquiry had occurred in plaintiff's case, it would have been considered a potential security violation," Scullin wrote. "Such an inquiry would have been recorded and, most likely, investigated. There is no record of any such inquiry."

Scullin also found no indication that the CIA "made any charge or public statement against [Peter] that could cause harm to his reputation."

Peter's case rested on an email he received from Abraxis that said a "customer" firmly declined to have any interest in working with Peter.

Though unidentified, Peter said the customer in question is the CIA. Scullin said there is not much backing this claim up.

"The evidence on which plaintiff relies as a basis for his claim that he has raised a material factual issue regarding whether defendant made adverse public disclosures to one or more contractors that harmed his reputation simply does not support that assertion," Scullin wrote.

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