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FBI cross-checks sources' reliability, quality

By Associated Press,
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 8, 2003

WASHINGTON - The FBI is reviewing each of the thousands of people who provide it intelligence to make sure they are being handled properly and are giving accurate, high-quality information.

The review began last summer after FBI director Robert Mueller learned about allegations against Katrina Leung, now charged with giving the Chinese government classified information she took from her longtime lover, retired FBI counterintelligence agent James J. Smith.

An intelligence division task force answering to the FBI's No. 2 official, deputy director Bruce Gebhardt, is conducting the review. The work involves checking sources' information for consistency and any contradictions by comparing it with other intelligence.

"Counterintelligence and counterterrorism are top priorities, and human sources are the backbone," FBI spokesman Mike Kortan said. "We're taking a top-to-bottom look at every key asset to ensure that the information we're getting is valid."

Kortan declined to say whether the investigation has uncovered any other alleged double agents or wrongdoing by FBI personnel.

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles returned a six-count indictment Wednesday charging Smith with gross negligence and wire fraud, charges that carry a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. The government faces a Friday deadline to seek grand jury indictments against Leung.

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