Eternal Plame


New at Reason: Ron Bailey has an idea to plug those leaks.

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  1. I don’t understand. Is this satire?

    BTW, I also don’t see how exposing Plame wouldn’t “discredit” Wilson, but I clearly see how it would punish him!

  2. No- I think he’s serious…

  3. Sadam had yellow cake. He very likely would have wanted more. Just because we can’t find the receipt for one particular deal we put Sadam back in charge, appologize and come home?

  4. Gene-

    This has nothing to do with Saddam. This is about whether the identity of a CIA agent should have been revealed publicly to punish a person who questioned the administration’s Iraq policy (punish him by ruining his wife’s ability to continue in her job as an undercover agent). The answer is an unequivocal “NO!” Revealing the identity of an agent puts at risk the lives of people in the field. Even if she is safely at home, somebody in a hostile country will surely say “Ah, now I know why that military nuclear scientist was talking to that woman.” And a valuable US source is killed.

    And, in the big picture, revealing the identity of a CIA agent jeopardizes national security.

    So don’t try to turn this into another round of the old “Should we have invaded Iraq?”

  5. Go git ’em, Thoreau!!

  6. I think Ronald’s got a valid stance in his piece. Since the NYT story confirms Plame was a covert operative (to the extent we can trust the old gray lady these days), there should be hell to pay. The fact that she worked overseas with a “non-official” cover makes the breach that much more egregious, since she would have had no diplomatic or military leverage had she found herself under arrest.

    Bush has prided himself on a leak-proof administration, and has probably also based a significant chunk of his political strategy on it remaining so. It appears he’s been consistent on that, so why not give a loyalty test? For that matter, why not locate the CIA employee who confirmed Plame’s employment to Novak and fire him/her, as well?

    I think Bush’s loyalty test is more likely to happen than anyone at Langley being held accountable, though. How many people over there got fired because of 9/11? If that’s not an intelligence failure, I don’t know what is.

  7. Ron is running hot and cold. Yesterday he redeems himself and then today we get this pointlessness. Loyalty oaths, yeah there’s a good idea they always work.

  8. “And, in the big picture, revealing the identity of a CIA agent jeopardizes national security.”

    Not really, it only jeopardizes the CIA agent. The CIA already jeopardizes national security by its mere existence. Just because it’s not supposed to doesn’t mean it doesn’t. Just like the FDA is supposed to save lives, but winds up threatening lives too.

  9. Shouldn’t the CIA be investigating who leaked what?

  10. I actually am sort of glad about this yellow cake/leak foulup. The Bush administration seemed to be so in lock-step with one another that it was kind of scary.

  11. I thought the left was all for “outing” CIA agents. In the 80s, wasn’t revealing (and revelling in) the CIA’s “secret wars” south of the border what got the left’s dicks hard at night?

    Now they’re all in a dither because one CIA employee’s so-called “cover” has been blown.

    Oh, wait, I forgot, it’s only bad if the Bush administration is responsible.

  12. I think it’s interesting that Ron brought up the Agee incident in ’75. As I recall, some of the same people on the left who are now fulminating about l’affaire Plame were falling all over themselves to defend Agee’s ostensible first amendment rights to blab this sort of stuff about the CIA. I guess it’s OK to attack CIA operatives when they are allegedly oppressing the world’s downtrodden, but one must defend them when doing so gives one a potential shot at someone like Karl Rove. In Agee’s case, someone actually was killed, and if I recall correctly, nothing much happened to him. I don’t know what ever became of Agee, but I sincerely hope that he is rotting in hell

  13. I just saw Terry McAuliffe (the DNC Chairman)on CNN suggesting basically the same thing Ron does…

  14. “Shouldn’t the CIA be investigating who leaked what?”

    It can’t, at least not outside itself.

  15. I guess it’s always 1974 in Texas.

  16. No one has answered the truly important question here: is Valeria Plame hot? Has any media outlet run a picture? Her cover’s already blown! The American people deserve to know!

  17. Tom-

    First, I hope you weren’t insinuating I’m part of the “left” that supposedly favors outing CIA agents.

    Second, this isn’t the case of a journalist or whistle blower revealing some sort of corrupt government action (e.g. selling weapons to the terrorist regime in Tehran, or giving weapons to religious fanatics in Afghanistan and trusting that no harm will come of arming and training fanatics).

    The people who leaked her identity were interested in revenge, pure and simple. There is no excuse for that. Revealing her identity was an abuse of power, or more precisely an abuse of the trust vested in whoever had the necessary security clearance to know that Plame worked for the CIA.

    I don’t know about you, but I get upset when public officials violate the trust vested in them and use their access to information to punish people who question the administration. Especially when the punishment is visited upon the critic’s wife.

    Finally, if somebody who had a problem with me chose to exact his revenge upon my wife I’d probably kill him, or at least cripple him, and I don’t care how powerful that person might be. It’s a good thing that Plame’s husband has more self-restraint than me.

  18. P.S. If Plame’s husband does decide to exact revenge upon whoever went after his wife, he has my full support. I’ve got a strong back, so I can help him dig the shallow grave. Call me old-fashioned, but when you go after a man’s wife you deserve whatever happens to you.

  19. If the pressure of having to sign a sworn statement doesn’t frighten the crooks who blew Mrs. Wilson’s cover, then maybe they can try blood oaths, a game of “truth or dare”, or a cathartic couple of hours in a drumming circle. If none of those things ferret out the pro-terrorist fifth column in the Administration, then we’ll know we’re dealing with some dark forces indeed! What kind of monster would cheat at “truth or dare”?

    Mr. Bailey’s faith in the power of playground oaths and double-dog dares is sweet. Really, it is. But I just don’t think the threat of a perjury charge stemming from a false affidavit is going to strike fear into a crook who’d be looking at 10 or more years in prison.*

    *Oh. And in light of the DOJ’s new directive for maximum sentencing and minimal plea bargaining, the leakers might be facing a whole lot more than prison time if they’re charged under the Patriot Act.

  20. Agee is on speaking tours and the like. BTW, outing a CIA agent, or CIA actitivites is not neccessarily bad in itself. Depends on the situation. Given what Agee knew about operations in Chile and the like, it was likely appropriate for him to tell all – and to be frank he wrote “Inside the Company” out of a sense of outrage mostly, not crass political considerations.

  21. Whoa there, Jean. Agee got at least one person killed, right? You’re saying that’s sometimes OK, if your motives are pure? Holy shit!

    Even if no one actually gets killed, you’re definitely endangering their lives by blowing their cover. I’m not saying that’s the case with Plame — we don’t really know what she did, how much of a “spy” she was — but Agee purposefully blew people’s cover, knowing damn well it could get them killed. And you’re defending that? (or at least saying it would sometimes be OK, in the right circumstances?) Again, holy shit!


    In 1968 Philip Agee was finally disgusted with his dirty work as a CIA officer in Ecuador, Uruguay, and Mexico. He submitted a letter of resignation and immediately slipped into Cuba, then went to France and Britain. As he wrote his memoirs while scraping by on handouts, he frequently wondered if some of the people who were helping him could be trusted. The answer was “no” — a typewriter that one friend loaned him was discovered to contain a homing transmitter. Finally his book “Inside the Company” was published in 1975, launching his career as history’s most celebrated anti-CIA activist. The CIA kept harassing Agee, even though he retains his U.S. citizenship and has never been charged with a crime. He was expelled from Britain, France, and Holland, and his U.S. passport was revoked in 1979. Today he lives in Germany, is still trying to get his passport back, and does speaking tours on U.S. college campuses.

    Here is the Playboy interview:

  23. The law in question actually requires that the operative be under cover, out of county within the last 5 years (which makes sense considering the CIA doesn’t have any business doing their under cover work within the country).

    From all reports thus far, judging by when her and Wilson met, in 1997 and they were subsequently married and had children, there is no reasonable expectation that she has been stationed overseas within the last 5 years. Joe Wilson & Co. know this already which only robs them of their already shaky credibility.

    Did I say shaky credibility?

    Well, by now all of the resident scholars know that Mr. Wilson is an extreme partisan D.C. insider who also works for the Saudi backed Middle East Institute. Go to the MEI website and the name of one Ms. Valerie Plame is mentioned as being the wife of the good Mr. Wilson. Did I mention his employer is funded by the Saudis?

    Hmmm. Doesn’t sound like anyone was really all that concerned about Ms. Plame’s ID, which only strengthens the case that Ms. Plame is nothing more than an analyst and not a covert operative.

    This isn’t a scandal, it’s a smear job.

  24. Tom,

    One could just as easily point out that the Republicans would be jumping all over Clinton, if the circumstances were exactly the same. Hypocrisy is not a respecter of party lines.

    It’s wrong when a President does it, regardless of his party, to punish a subordinate for whistle-blowing. It’s sleazyness of the exact same kind as when Slick Willie’s attack dog, Sid Blumenthal, made character assassinations of Clinton’s accusers. And there’s quite a bit of schadenfreude, my own included, to see Bush (Mr. “honor and integrity”) embarassed for violating HIS OWN declared values.

    Exactly the same as my reaction when I hear about “progressive” defenders of the average working guy, like Hillary or Barbra, acting like Leona Helmsley toward their own staff.

  25. Steve,

    Well, if said agent is committing immoral acts, as Agee felt he or she was (and where is the proof that someone died due to his book’s publication), I’ve no issue with it. I’m not going to put crass nationalism and the immoral policies of the CIA above ethical considerations.


    Its always fun to paint people with titles ao as to bolster ad hominem attacks – “extreme partisan” etc. As to it being a smear job, you are right – an attempted smear job that backfired on the Bush administration, which now has lots of egg all over its face. But thanks for the attempted smoke screen; it was fun to laugh at.

  26. Ray writes: “From all reports thus far, judging by when her and Wilson met, in 1997 and they were subsequently married and had children, there is no reasonable expectation that she has been stationed overseas within the last 5 years.”

    Her kids are 3 years old. Unless she was gestating for 2 years, she had over a year in which she could have traveled undercover. Your (or, should I say, Taranto’s) theory collapses under the weight of well-established human biological facts.

    The law only requires undercover service outside the US. It makes no requirement that the agent be on a long-term posting. Nor would that make sense, because it’s entirely reasonable to expect the CIA to occasionally send a case office on a short trip to debrief a field agent or other asset.

  27. …”Go to the MEI website and the name of one Ms. Valerie Plame is mentioned as being the wife of the good Mr. Wilson.”

    Does the site mention that she works for the CIA?

  28. Before this thread goes into archive purgatory, I’ll just mention that the Neocon-approved postwar WMD inspector David Kay has said that he has found no evidence that Iraq sought uranium in Niger.

    He did find records of another African nation offering Saddam uranium, but Saddam declined the offer, oddly enough. I guess he didn’t need it.

  29. EMAIL:
    DATE: 02/01/2004 07:58:50
    Against boredom even the gods contend in vain.

  30. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/21/2004 05:44:02
    A brute kills for pleasure. A fool kills from hate.

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