YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

2 CIA Officials Disciplined in Spy Case Fallout : Espionage: The agents are demoted because they gave award to a colleague who was reprimanded for his role in the agency's worst intelligence failure.


WASHINGTON — In still more fallout from the Aldrich H. Ames spy case, two senior CIA officials have been demoted and will retire for giving an award to an agency official the day after he was severely reprimanded for his role in the Ames case, a senior intelligence source said Wednesday.

The unusual disciplinary actions by CIA Director R. James Woolsey against the two officials illustrates that the Ames case, the worst counterintelligence failure in agency history, continues to rack the CIA.

The two officials are John MacGaffin, the No. 2 official in the sensitive Directorate of Operations, which handles covert operations, and Frank Anderson, chief of the CIA's Near East division.

Anderson, in a move approved by MacGaffin, flew to Bonn on Sept. 29, the day after Woolsey announced his disciplinary decisions in the spy case, to present a division-level plaque to Milton Bearden, the CIA station chief in Bonn. The source said that the award reflected Bearden's exceptional contributions to issues of intelligence in the Near East.

MacGaffin was the highest-level official to approve the award, according to the intelligence source.

Bearden headed the CIA's Central Eurasian division in 1989, when Ames returned there from assignment in Rome and in the midst of his spying for the Soviet Union. Ames was given added responsibilities and access to information valuable to the Soviets after Bearden transferred him to counterintelligence.

Of four people Woolsey severely reprimanded for their failures in the Ames case, Bearden was the only one still with the agency. The severe reprimand would have ended his career, but he had already said that he was retiring. He left the agency two weeks ago.

The senior intelligence source said that he could not explain why Anderson and MacGaffin would reward an individual immediately after he was reprimanded for a case as damaging as Ames. But he contended that Woolsey did not regard their actions as a revolt by the Directorate of Operations against his leadership.

Rather, their decisions "were simply errors in judgment," the source said.

But Woolsey saw the move as "cutting across the grain of his actions," according to the source. Woolsey had frozen any promotions and rewards for subjects of an Ames-case investigation conducted by the CIA inspector general, the source said.

Los Angeles Times Articles