You have heard of the insiders and read their claims. Bob Lazar, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Corso, Colonel John Alexander - the list goes on. Reviewing some select circumstances offers us some likely insights into the real deal.
Standard Form 312
Standard form 312, or SF-312, is a “classified information nondisclosure agreement” as set forth and required by “Executive Order 12958, or under any other Executive order or statute that requires protection for such information in the interest of national security.” (1) All related materials and a manual are standard issue, as the name of the form implies, to all individuals that apply for employment within the U.S. Federal government that requires a security clearance. This includes all subcontractors, affiliates, and so on that require a security clearance due to their direct or indirect work with the Federal government.
Signing the form therefore binds an individual to committing that they understand and agree with the Executive Orders referenced within SF-312 and its accompanying materials. The form states, in essence, that the individual will keep their mouth shut or risk criminal prosecution for not doing so. History can show us numerous occasions in which the feds are subject to get pretty bent out of shape when this agreement is breached.
Loose Lips Sink Ships
One such occasion includes the circumstances of I. Lewis Libby Jr., a former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby is additionally and dubiously recognized as having been convicted in 2007 on charges including perjury and obstruction of justice due to his part in talking out of school about state secrets. (2) Valerie Plame Wilson, the wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, had her previously secret profession as a CIA operations officer publicly revealed due to events involving Libby and what some described as, at best, extreme errors in judgment on behalf of Libby.
We are largely left to speculate whether Libby's apparent and ill advised conversations with certain individuals were truly a key component in the Plame Wilson chain of events, or whether Libby was just the proverbial fall guy and took one for the team. After all, President Bush indeed commuted the prison sentence.
One way or the other, it is no less apparent that someone indeed outed Plame Wilson, and that the Federal government does not take kindly to having their authority minimized in upholding the intent of SF-312. We can therefore reasonably surmise that if the Oval Office is subject to becoming the focus of a Federal investigation related to talking out of school and subsequently breaching national security, then the offices of the likes of Bob Lazar and John Alexander are most certainly subject to such investigations. As a matter of fact, there is clear and specific protocol in place to ensure this is the case.
The CIA Publication Review Board
The CIA Publication Review Board, or PRB, is “charged with reviewing, coordinating, and formally approving in writing all proposed nonofficial, personal publications,” as stated in the document titled, Agency Prepublication Review of Certain Material Prepared for Public Dissemination. (3) The protocol is intended to ensure that all individuals, past and present, “given access to classified information understand and comply with their contractual obligations not to disclose it.” This essentially means that everybody that has ever had anything to do with a security clearance must subject their statements to the PRB for editing prior to making the statements. If not, they are in noncompliance with Executive Orders as cited in SF-312.
Types of materials covered and subject to editing include “any written, oral, electronic, or other presentation intended for publication or public dissemination, whether personal or official, that mentions CIA or intelligence data or activities or material on any subject about which the author has had access to classified information in the course of his employment or other contact with the Agency.” Such circumstances are further clarified and defined in a CIA handbook titled, Procedures for Review of Nonofficial Publications and Oral Presentations by Employees, Former Employees, and Others. (4)
As suggested in the above referenced CIA literature, the interests of the PRB cover all possible means that current and former holders of security clearances might use to describe their participation in classified activities. (5) Information must even be reviewed and approved for publication that will be presented during public appearances such as speaking engagements and interviews, and no one is exempt from the process. The CIA PRB has reviewed work submitted and requested to be publicly released by the likes of President Reagan and Defense Secretary Weinberger. No purpose is considered too trivial either, as demonstrated when the PRB reviewed an interactive CD-ROM spy video game that was interestingly co-authored by former Director of Central Intelligence William Colby and KGB General Oleg Kalugin.
The Bottom Line
To try to be really clear here, I want to emphasize if a person has been employed in any capacity whatsoever that required a security clearance with the CIA or its affiliates such as other branches of military intelligence or private subcontractors, Federal law dictates that they are required to submit all potentially relevant statements to the Publication Review Board for prepublication approval. If they do not do so, they are in violation of Federal law.
We can therefore reasonably surmise a few likely scenarios in the cases of individuals such as Lazar and Corso. They may have lied about practically everything, or they may have lied about most of their claims and told the truth about a few things. One way or another, there is one thing of which we can be absolutely certain: the Federal government did not mind, or the situations would not have been allowed to continue. In the case of Alexander, we can equally be absolutely certain that his published work, both written and via speaking engagements, conforms with standards for public release.
We can therefore figure some reasonably likely possibilities about many of the confirmed and alleged insiders. One likelihood is that they are lying, they never knew anything about the things they go on to claim they were involved in, and the Federal government simply does not care and/or finds it in its better interests to allow the lying to continue. Another likelihood is that such insiders were indeed once employed in relatively key positions, as we know is the case with Alexander, and that their publicized statements are simply irrelevant and consist of declassified information, thus gaining approval by the PRB.
There is, however, at least one more scenario related to those insiders that were once truly employed in key positions. The insider's statements may simply be part of their job description and continuing employment: they are just doing what they are paid to do, disseminate disinformation.
If such scenarios were not the case, the whistle blowing and insider testimonies would simply not be happening. Ask I. Lewis Libby Jr.
(1) U.S. Department of Energy: Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement