CIA Officer Fired for Leaking Information

In a rare move, the CIA has fired an employee for leaking classified information to the press.

The leaked information included operational details of ongoing CIA activities, the agency said. The CIA said the officer acknowledged leaking the information and was dismissed for what an intelligence official described as a "pattern of unauthorized discussions."

ABC News has learned that the fired officer admitted to the leaking after he failed a polygraph test. The leak included information on the CIA's secret prisions, but that was not the only story this official was accused of leaking.

The Justice Department would not comment on any potential prosecutions that might result from the leaks.

The employee's identity and assignment were not released because of Privacy Act restrictions.

The CIA said the leaks were a violation of the secrecy agreement all CIA employees sign as a condition of employment. ABC News has learned the leak investigation is continuing and remains very active.

The former employee could potentially face federal prosecution for releasing classified information. The Justice Department said it wouldn't comment on the CIA's personnel decision, but a Justice official said no referral to charge this employee had been sent to the Justice Department or the U.S. attorney's office in Virginia.

CIA Director Porter Goss notified the agency staff on Thursday about the employee's termination in an internal e-mail sent to all CIA employees.

In February Goss told the Senate Intelligence Committee he was concerned by "an erosion of the culture of secrecy" at the CIA. Referring to the agency's headquarters, he said there was "an investigation of finding out what leakage, if any, is coming out of that building."

Goss also told the panel he had reached out to the FBI and the Justice Department to investigate any leaks.

"It is my aim, and it is my hope that we will witness a grand jury investigation with reporters present being asked to reveal who is leaking this information," he said. "I believe the safety of this nation and the people of this country deserve nothing less."

One of those cases involved the Washington Post's reporting on CIA secret prisons, which the CIA referred to the Justice Department last November. Earlier this week, Washington Post reporter Dana Priest received the Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on that story.

An intelligence official would only say today that the termination was due to "a pattern of unauthorized discussions; this was more than one instance."

ABC News' Rich Esposito and Jason Ryan contributed additional reporting to this article.

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