The fix was in at the CIA long before 9/11.
The Central Intelligence Agency was told by an informant in the spring of 2001 that Iraq had abandoned a major element of its nuclear weapons program, but the agency did not share the information with other agencies or with senior policy makers, a former C.I.A. officer has charged.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court here in December, the former C.I.A. officer, whose name remains secret, said that the informant told him that Iraq’s uranium enrichment program had ended years earlier and that centrifuge components from the scuttled program were available for examination and even purchase.
The officer, an employee at the agency for more than 20 years, including several years in a clandestine unit assigned to gather intelligence related to illicit weapons, was fired in 2004.
In his lawsuit, he says his dismissal was punishment for his reports questioning the agency’s assumptions on a series of weapons-related matters. Among other things, he charged that he had been the target of retaliation for his refusal to go along with the agency’s intelligence conclusions.
His information on the Iraqi nuclear program, described as coming from a significant source, would have arrived at a time when the C.I.A. was starting to reconsider whether Iraq had revived its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The agency’s conclusion that this was happening, eventually made public by the Bush administration in 2002 as part of its rationale for war, has since been found to be incorrect.
The former officer’s lawyer, Roy W. Krieger, said he could not discuss his client’s claims. He likened his client’s situation to that of Valerie Wilson, also known as Valerie Plame, the clandestine C.I.A. officer whose role was leaked to the press after her husband publicly challenged some administration conclusions about Iraq’s nuclear ambitions. (The former officer and Ms. Wilson worked in the same unit of the agency.)
“In both cases, officials brought unwelcome information on W.M.D. in the period prior to the Iraq invasion, and retribution followed,” said Mr. Krieger, referring to weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Krieger said he had asked the court handling the case to declassify his client’s suit, but the C.I.A. had moved to classify most of his motion seeking declassification. He added that he recently sent a letter to the director of the F.B.I. requesting an investigation of his client’s complaints, but that the C.I.A. had classified that letter, as well.
Most of the details of the case, he said, “were classified by the C.I.A., not to protect national security but to conceal politically embarrassing facts from public scrutiny.”