A federal judge, granting a request by government prosecutors, ordered lawyers for ex-CIA agent Edwin P. Wilson yesterday to disclose any national security secrets that may figure in Wilson's defense on charges he illegally shipped guns from Virginia to Libyan terrorists.
District Judge Oren R. Lewis gave defense attorneys until last night to comply with terms of a recent federal law aimed at protecting the disclosure of classified information in criminal trials.
Wilson, 54, who is scheduled for trial on Nov. 15 in Alexandria, has claimed he was working on a CIA-sponsored project in Libya when the firearms allegedly were shipped. The government has denied any such official connection with the former agent. Prosecutors have complained that threats by Wilson to unveil CIA secrets if he is brought to trial amount to "graymail."
The 80-year-old Lewis, known as "Roarin' Oren" to local lawyers, announced his decision after a 90-minute hearing studded with testy exchanges with assistant prosecutor Theodore S. Greenberg that left even the dour-looking Wilson smiling.
"Mr. Greenberg, why are you trying to fool an old, gray-haired judge?" asked Lewis, who accused both sides of trying to delay next month's trial. The judge chided Greenberg for putting up "a big smokescreen" and attempting to find out in advance what defense tactics Wilson might use.
Greenberg complained that defense lawyers Herald Price Fahringer and John A. Keats had repeatedly refused to comply with the classified information statute. "Mr. Greenberg, lawyers have been playing with each other since time immemorial," replied Lewis. "You're just bluffing him."
In the end, however, the government appeared to win most of what it wanted by yesterday's motion. Lewis directed that the defense tell him in writing what classified documents, if any, it plans to introduce at the trial. Fahringer said in court there were none.
Lewis also ordered that Wilson list any expected defense testimony that might draw on classified data. Under the law, such disclosures would first be reviewed by government agencies, after which Lewis would rule in secret on their relevance and admissibility as evidence.
Lewis further ordered that the defense list any sensitive U.S. documents it intends to subpoena. The judge, waving off an objection by Greenberg, gave prosecutors until Monday to object to the list.
Fahringer pleaded unsuccessfully yesterday for more time to meet Lewis' directives, arguing that for Wilson, a onetime career CIA agent, to disclose classified materials to his lawyer might in itself violate the law. A federal judge in Houston, where Wilson also faces trial next month, ruled last week that Fahringer must obtain security clearance before going forward in that case.
Fahringer, a distinguished-looking, white-haired New York lawyer, told Lewis yesterday he could get clearance in seven days. "The government couldn't even turn the clock back on New Deal time, as I call it, in seven days," replied Lewis.
Greenberg also asked Lewis to enforce a local court rule that subpoenas for senior Defense officials, whom Wilson is expected to call to testify, must be specially approved by the judge.
"That only means the court clerk can't do it [issue subpoenas] without court permission," shot back Lewis. "The defense doesn't have to give you the time of day."
Six miles away, in Annandale, a funeral was held yesterday morning for Kevin Mulcahy, 40, a former CIA technician who was to have testified against Wilson. Although final autopsy results are not complete, authorities have said Mulcahy probably died of natural causes Oct. 26 in Edinburg, Va.
The service was attended by more than 200 friends and family members and was led by the Rev. Dick Flynn, the chaplain of Georgetown Hospital, who grew up with Mulcahy in Falls Church. "He touched a lot of people," said Flynn. "He had his ups and downs, but a lot of people are very grateful for knowing him." Mulcahy, who attended Gonzaga High School, but graduated from Annandale High in 1960, will be buried today in Brockton, Mass.
Documents found in Mulcahy's truck apparently did not include classified material, local officials said, but some were on a CIA letterhead. "We have not been notified there are any classified documents," said Dale Peterson, a spokesman for the CIA.