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Judge Approves $3 Million Payout to Ex-DEA Agent, But Chastises Government For Failing to Punish Anyone

Judge Lamberth

Judge Lamberth

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ex-DEA Agent Richard Horn may have been quite happy when the government agreed to pay him $3 million late last year to settle a lawsuit in which he claimed the CIA spied on him and illegally wiretapped his conversations while he was stationed in Burma in 1993.

But  U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth of  Washington is none too happy and chastised the government in an opinion issued Tuesday for failing to punish anyone in the matter.

“Now this court is called upon to approve a $3,000,000 payment to an individual plaintiff by the United States, and again it does not appear that any government officials have been held accountable for this loss to the taxpayer,” Lamberth wrote in an opinion in which he approved the settlement. ” This is troubling to the Court.”

The government was able to invoke a “state secret privilege”. By doing so, it agreed to pay the ex-DEA agent $3 million, but not admit to wrongdoing. It also avoided airing government secrets.

“As to the allegations of wrongdoing that form the basis of Horn’s claims, while the government makes no admission of wrongdoing in the settlement, the Court is persuaded that the government must have at least found them credible to pay the plaintiff $3,000,000 to settle the case,” the judge wrote.

Lamberth asked the Attorney General whether the case will be referred to the Inspector General for internal investigation.

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