Mark Kirk (R-IL) Works for CIA?

Just received this from a Democratic newsletter - I didn’t realize that Congressmen were allowed to moonlight. :mad:

Is there a confilct of interest here? I’m not challenging you, I honestly do not know. Maybe something like funding of the CIA, or legislation regarding what powers the CIA can have (such as the Patriot Act)?

He’s not “moonlighting.” He’s in the military reserve. That means one weekend a month and two weeks a year. His reserve duty happens to be in covert ops. A friend of mine who was an engineer was in the Army Reserve and did something similar. What’s the big deal here?


Lots of our Congressfools moonlight, mostly as public speakers. It is jarring, though, to see one work for two different branches of government. We’re supposed to have a sepatation of powers. “Mark Kirk, Congressional Double Agent” doesn’t have a reassuring ring to it. I know this is the Pit, but I really don’t feel like slagging on Secret Spy Kirk, right now.

It is a little unsettling that he is working for (and being paid by) the executive branch at the same time he is supposed to be representing his constituents and serving as an impartial (can we even use that word to describe legislators anymore?) “check” on executive power.

Practically, however, the impact is probably minimal. He may have a conflict in which his weekend activities specifically countermand the recommendations of his fellow Congressmen on whichever committee is in charge of such things; the real conflict would be if he served on any of those committees.

One other potential conflict would be that he might end up in a position to vote on – or even sponsor – a bill from which he stood to benefit financially (for example, a budget bill which determines his weekend pay rate, or which eliminates his position from that organization). To avoid the appearance of impropriety, his choices are to (a) keep his weekend job a secret and vote his conscience, or (b) abstain on any vote from which he could personally benefit. Since (a) is shot, his past voting record on such bills should be examined, and if he appears to have acted in good faith, then there should be no penalty. If he has acted with malice, or with a clear hidden agenda, then throw the bum out.

There are three branches of government, and neither the CIA nor the US Navy are included in those three. Both have budgets approved and set by the Legislative Branch, but on such a broad base that there would be no financial conflict of interest, as he was already serving in the Reserves openly. A good friend of mine is a linguist in the Air Force Reserve (Farsi linguist) and his weekend work was classified, and was very probably (if not definitely) linked to the intelligence community.

Kirk’s own website states clearly

Did Kirk break the law when he revealed that he worked for the CIA?

Isn’t it against the law to reveal names of operatives?

Are you paying attention at all?

HE DOESN’T WORK FOR THE CIA. If you still can’t grasp that I can make the font a little bigger. He works for the Navy. The Navy and the CIA work together sometimes. He is not an operative although his specific work is presumably confidential.

I love bashing politicians as much as the next guy. There may well be plenty of reasons to bash Kirk. This is not one of them.


Yes, it is illegal to reveal the identity of a CIA operative. The law was passed at the urging of GWB’s father, who was head of the CIA before he was president. GHWB said the revealing of an agent’s identity is the worst kind of treason. Somebody in the GWB White House revealed Valerie Plame’s identity to columnist Robert Novak. Who was it? We may never know. The investigation has not been described as relentless, or even enthusiastic.

Congressman Kirk, on the other hand, outed himself, probably without endangering himself. He’s probably not in any legal trouble.

Uncle Bill asserted that the military and the CIA are not within any branch of the government. I disagree. They’re Executive. The president is commander-in-chief, and he has direct authority over them. The Secretary of Defense is a member of the Cabinet (Executive,) and he answers to the president.

Well, then his duties with the US Navy Reserve are also under the Executive Branch, and THAT has not been a problem, correct? No secret there.

The Vice-President of the United States (the President of the Senate) does that routinely.

The CIA is part of the executive branch (CIA director appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate). The military is part of the executive branch (Secretary of Defense appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate; President is Commander in Chief of the military). Not quite sure where you get the idea that a unit of government can (officially) exist outside the structure of government.

The release I’ve seen states that he does. I haven’t seen a statement directly from Kirk saying one way or the other. Upon what are you relying to so emphatically state that he does not work for the CIA?

If you’re referring to the law allegedly violated by the revelation of Plame’s identity, The Intelligence Identities Protection Act, that law makes it illegal to reveal the identity of an operative if the person revealing the identity had authorized access to it. It isn’t apparent from the details so far provided that Kirk’s identity would be subject to the provisions of the law.

Now that Google is up and running for me (it’s been up and down all day for me today) I fiind this cite in which it is noted that in his capacity as a reservist Kirk was “detailed to the CIA” from 1991-1994. The cite is from USA Today from two years ago so unless Kirk said on the floor of the House that he is a CIA agent I’m not quite sure how this is some big revelation.

Based on the the cites posted here, there is no evidence that he does. It would be nice if you could cite the release you saw and who it was that released it.

I have a friend who was (I think) in a similar situation. He was an Army officer in the reserve who worked with the CIA.


Seems like a conflict of interest to work for the executive branch at the same time you are expected to provide oversight and vote on the budget. No idea what the Congressional ethics rules (giggle) say about it, however.

It’s the same information as the OP posted. Here’s one cite from Indymedia. It’s a press release from Kirk’s opponent’s campaign.

Kirk’s alleged admission is certainly evidence, and the apparent lack of a denial from Kirk is also evidence, but the question is evidence of what? Unless a transcript of his supposed statement is available then all we have to go on is the above release.

He is in the US Navy Reserve, as much a part of the Executive Branch as the CIA. He has served openly in this regard. It has obviously passed muster with the Ethics Committee.

And for Otto, we seem to have defined “branches of government” differently. You include “governmental agencies”, while I was speaking merely of the White House, the Congress, and the Supreme Court, as the three bodies that actually write, pass, approve, and execute policy. He is not a national policy-maker in the Navy, he follows policy.

Actually I thought I read somewhere that the ‘ethics commitree’ had basically been on vacation for a while. I read that when that outgoing Texas rep laid all those allegations on Tom Delay.
It sounds to me that Kirk may, if anything, be playing up his role to make himself sound impressive. Of course if you are impressed by someone who works for/with CIA.

But here is the thing. If he were on some sort of CIA oversight committee, (which it’s looks like he is not) then you may have some conflict of interest. As he would of course make friendships with CIA people that may make him not objective about what goes on at the agency.

It seems to me that now that he is in congress he should resign his commission. You can’t be management and labor at the same time.

Here is what Kirk actually said on the floor of the House on 6/23:

“Unlike some other amendments in this bill that are offered for partisan advantage, this amendment is offered by a former CIA officer with detailed knowledge of how the U.S. intelligence community works. To my knowledge, there are only three current Members of Congress who work with the CIA: our chairman, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss), the author of this amendment; the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Simmons); and me, who is detailed to the CIA from navy intelligence.”

Sounds like a pretty crappy speaker. Clearly, Goss and Simmons USED to be CIA agents, but Kirk refered to them in a way as to imply that they ARE CIA agents. Thus, it isn’t clear to me from this quote whether he is currently or had been detailed to the CIA.

It is clear that, based only upon this statement, that he was not an agent of the CIA, he was detailed to the CIA. There are Navy detailees everywhere in government, from the White House to CIA to State to Homeland Security to… gasp… Congress!

The thing is that there are many members of Congress who currently serve in the National Guard or the Reserves. Strom Thurmond, Lindsey Graham, Steve Buyer, are but a couple of members who have served in the reserves and in Congress at the same time.

My personal feeling is that one shouldn’t have a service obligation to two branches of the government at the same time. But for whatever reason, it is and has been allowed for many, many years now. I don’t think Kirk should be held to any higher standard because he is/was detailed to the CIA.

I think that there’s something to be said for having the guy with the power to send someone to war to be the one who may have to go.