David Passaro has been indicted for his involvement in the beating death of Afghan detainee Abdul Wali, in which Passaro is accused of striking the victim several times with a steel flashlight.
At the time Passaro was part of a CIA paramilitary team that tracked and interrogated suspected terrorists. But the CIA did not want to be associated with the case:
The CIA threatened to prosecute lawyers in the case of a civilian accused of beating an Afghani prisoner if they revealed the man’s ties to the agency, a former defense lawyer said.
Both prosecutors and defense lawyers were bound to secrecy, Gerald Beaver of Fayetteville [who represented Passaro after he received a “target letter” in February] wrote to Thomas McNamara, the court-appointed lawyer for defendant David Passaro, in a July 30 letter.
“No information regarding the agency with which he was affiliated was to be mentioned in any court pleadings, and any such mention would lead to criminal prosecution of the persons responsible,” Beaver wrote.
Then, suddenly, information that the CIA wanted to supress appeared on that intraweb thingy:
“I was dismayed to discover this had occurred, and was even more dismayed to discover later that afternoon on the Internet that the indictment returned in the case had identified David by his true name and had alleged that he was affiliated with a particular governmental agency, an affiliation which I had been informed was top secret and the disclosure of which would lead to criminal prosecution,” Beaver wrote.
It is unclear why the government decided to disclose Passaro’s affiliation with the CIA. Both the CIA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment to The Fayetteville Observer.