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Military Policy & Weapons/Vice President Unilaterally Disseminating CIA Information


Hello, I'm currently drafting a thriller novel which revolves around the war against the Islamic State. Set in 2016, one of the characters I portray is a Vice President who has secured his party's nomination for the presidency and is two months away from Election Day. This Vice President has generally taken a hardline, much more hawkish stance on foreign policy matters than the President, and he plays this up in the general election to his favor.

In the story there's a commanding officer in IS which makes a deft power-play within IS's organization and succeeds. The CIA draws up a profile on the guy, presumably the Vice President would be briefed on this.

I'm considering that the Vice President would intentionally seek, publicly in his campaign, to vilify IS's new leader, as a scare tactic to further cement his lead in the polls. He's already been openly divisive with the President on foreign policy matters and the President is indeed now a lame-duck.

But my question is, would the CIA take umbrage with the Vice President using their intel in this matter? Would it negatively affect their cooperation in the future? Or would that depend on their internal policy positions, i.e. would it depend on whether the Vice President was aligned with their own interests (in the story he's not, he's solidly the military's candidate).

Thanks for your time! :)


This is actually quite easy to answer. As long as the VP isn't releasing classified documents or otherwise blatantly spilling classified intel, he's ok. Presumably, this new ISIS commander is also being profiled in the news media, so there would be plenty of open source information on him anyway. One way to play it would be to a) come up with a classified (up to SECRET) CIA profile on the bad guy which the VP reads (and maybe vows to destroy him); and b) describe the news coverage of him as well. This way, you don't put your VP at odds with the CIA. Also, keep in mind that no responsible politician would openly divulge national secrets knowing that such an act would likely wreck his career. Good luck with your book!

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James Bruno


Diplomacy and foreign affairs. How government decision-making takes place. Interactions of the White House, State Dept., Pentagon, Congress and CIA in formulating policy. How governments deal with each other. Area expertise includes Afghanistan, Indochina, Europe, Cuba. Served in Guantanamo. Currently a member of the Diplomatic Readiness Reserve and Standby Response Corps.


23-years as a diplomat with the U.S. State Dept. Previously at the Defense Dept. Prior to joining government, worked as a journalist with major news organizations.

CBS-News, UPI; various newspapers. Bestselling novelist: TRIBE, PERMANENT INTERESTS and CHASM.

M.A. - U.S. Naval War College
M.A. - Columbia Univ.
B.A. - George Washington Univ.

Awards and Honors
Various in government.

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