Guess Who’s Not Going to Tonight’s CIA Christmas Party

Dec 6, 2007 6:03pm

The bombshell report by the New York Times’ Mark Mazzetti on the CIA’s destruction of the tapes showing the interrogations of al Qaeda suspects came just hours before the CIA’s annual Christmas party, to which the reporters who cover intelligence issues are invited. Given the major breaking story, it’s not likely Mazzetti will be attending, although the CIA says he was invited. No members of the ABC News Investigative Unit received invitations. The CIA pre-empted Mazetti’s scoop Thursday afternoon by putting out a statement CIA Director Michael Hayden sent to all CIA employees, revealing the tapes had been destroyed and that members of the press were about to report it. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. "Director Hayden feels strongly that it is important to keep CIA employees fully informed of events and developments that affect them," CIA spokesperson Mark Mansfield said. "The director wanted CIA’s employees to know about it before they read it in tomorrow’s papers." According to Mazzetti’s story posted on the New York Times Web site, the Times told the CIA on Wednesday evening that it planned to publish the story on Friday morning. When reporters alert government agencies about stories that could affect national security, the general understanding, as we have practiced it, is that the agencies will not give the material to other reporters. The CIA’s Mansfield says that is his understanding too, but that in this case, other reporters became aware of the Times’ story and called for reaction. That, said Mansfield, led the CIA to post the director’s statement on its Web site and to distribute it to reporters. For reporters who do attend tonight’s taxpayer-funded Christmas party in the CIA’s main lobby, there will be plenty of questions to get answered amid a full range of food and beverages.    Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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