Philip Agee, the controversial ex-CIA agent whose U.S. passport was withdrawn after he published details of undercover operations abroad, has launched a fresh attempt to obtain the document, asserting that unsubstantiated allegations by the CIA are behind the State Department's rejection of his latest application in June.
At a State Department hearing yesterday, Agee said that he expected the appeal to fail and was prepared to go to court over the issue.
The appeal follows a series of failed court attempts to regain his passport and is based on Agee's claim that he has complied with a 1980 injunction that he obey his 1957 "secrecy agreement" with the Central Intelligence Agency and submit his writings and speeches to the CIA for prepublication censorship.
In considering Agee's passport application last April, the State Department approached the CIA for its views and was told Agee had "persisted in violating" the injunction, according to a memorandum on which Secretary of State George P. Shultz based his June rejection of the passport application.
The CIA further reported that Agee, who lives in West Germany and travels on a Nicaraguan passport, had "served as a paid consultant to . . . hostile intelligence services."
At yesterday's hearing, Agee's attorney, Melvin Wulf, said the State Department had provided no evidence of the source and substance of these allegations, as it was required to do in terms of the appeal procedures.
Agee said he would not "dignify the allegations" with a reaction at the hearing, but later told a news conference that he denied each one.
The appeal is expected to take several months to be resolved.