Congress backs penalties for naming secret agents

The House and Senate intelligence committees have approved bills setting tough criminal penalties for the publication of the names of American intelligence agents working under cover. The bills provide for fines of up to $ 50,000 or imprisonment up to 10 years for current or former US officials who make public the names of agents. Civilians would be liable to fines of up to $ 15,000 and imprisonment for a maximum of three years for deliberate published disclosure of the identities of covert agents. Both bills are expected to pass when they are sent to the floor next month.

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