A reader points out that Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker piece on the intelligence process leading to the invasion of Iraq offers a hint about how it came to be that “two top White House officials” knew the workname of a covert CIA officer: the White House had, for other reasons, already broken down the walls that used to keep raw intelligence, and the sources and methods used to gather it, within the intelligence community:
Eventually, Thielmann said, Bolton demanded that he and his staff have
direct electronic access to sensitive intelligence, such as foreign-agent
reports and electronic intercepts. In previous Administrations, such
data had been made available to under-secretaries only after it was analyzed,
usually in the specially secured offices of INR. The whole point of
the intelligence system in place, according to Thielmann, was “to prevent
raw intelligence from getting to people who would be misled.” Bolton,
however, wanted his aides to receive and assign intelligence analyses
and assessments using the raw data. In essence, the under-secretary would
be running his own intelligence operation, without any guidance or support.
“He surrounded himself with a hand-chosen group of loyalists, and found
a way to get C.I.A. information directly,” Thielmann said.