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What Valerie Plame Really Did at the CIA
September 5, 2006 6:17 PM   Subscribe

What Valerie Plame Really Did at the CIA: She was the chief of operations of the CIA's Joint Task Force on Iraq, in charge of gathering information on Iraq's supposed WMD programs, according to a new article in The Nation based on David Corn and Michael Isikoff's new book, Hubris. On his weblog, David Corn says, "She was an undercover officer in charge of running critical covert operations." Also, in the summer of 2001, "word came down from the brass: We're ramping up on Iraq."
posted by kirkaracha (31 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
How Cheney and Rumsfeld killed the CIA.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:49 PM on September 5, 2006


I hope her civil lawsuit works out for her. She deserves every penny she will hopefully get from a corrupt government.

Sadly, undercover agents outed and disappeared by the Bush administration to further the neocon agenda will remain starred blanks in an empty manilla folder.

Sadly, we're still left with Vietnam II, and all the "collateral damage" that results, from dead and permanently scarred soldiers, to tens of thousands of murdered civilians, to a radioactive wasteland in the Middle East.

I wish her all the best.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:29 PM on September 5, 2006


How Cheney and Rumsfeld killed the CIA? Let me ask a question - are these two guys supergeniuses, or is everyone else in Washington literally a moron?

All I read about around here is how Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz outmaneuvered everyone in Washington. At some point you'd expect someone to stand up to them, and outmaneuver them. But no, from generals to CIA directors to ambassadors, everyone gets run over.

Maybe they deserve power if everyone opposed to them seems to lose it so easily.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:47 PM on September 5, 2006


Concerning as the thought is, Pastabagel, you do have a very good point.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:19 PM on September 5, 2006


I'll wait for the article discussed in the blog. If true, this is a big blow to the people claiming she was not covert and therefore no crime was committed.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:42 PM on September 5, 2006


Pardon me. Did you say summer of 2001?
posted by spock at 10:30 PM on September 5, 2006


"are these two guys supergeniuses, or is everyone else in Washington literally a moron?"

I would call them "sub" geniuses, but that would be an insult to my kind.

"All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." - George Orwell
posted by ZachsMind at 10:46 PM on September 5, 2006


Pastabagel, I think that's because most of the rest of the people in Washington were still professionals who were trying to get to the truth and reach consensus.

That works fine when you're dealing with Clinton, but using those tactics on the Bushies is like, well, to steal a line from them.... Churchill trying to get along with Hitler.

They likely thought it was a shouting match, not a coup.

And WE are the ones who allowed it. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Next time you look in the mirror... that's the person responsible for the destruction of the CIA. My mirror too.
posted by Malor at 11:11 PM on September 5, 2006


She was the chief of operations of the CIA's Joint Task Force on Iraq--

Holy crap.
posted by russilwvong at 12:02 AM on September 6, 2006


are these two guys supergeniuses, or is everyone else in Washington literally a moron?

Neither. Its currently very unfashionalble to admit that the generals, intelligence honchos, and 'anti-war' democrats were very much for taking Iraq on. The neocons didn't have to do much convicing.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:13 AM on September 6, 2006


Astro Zombie: I hope her civil lawsuit works out for her. She deserves every penny she will hopefully get from a corrupt government.

Sigh. Where do you think our corrupt gov't gets its money? GWB's magic piggy bank? We're all paying for this -- over and over.

I agree that she deserves her day in court, but it should be a criminal court, where all of the Bushco players should be made to confess to their malfeasance Perry Mason style.

That her current civil suit is her (and our) only practicable recourse is proof that tragedy has become farce.
posted by oncogenesis at 12:23 AM on September 6, 2006


and 'anti-war' democrats were very much for taking Iraq on

The anti-war Dems were afraid of their shadows, since had they opposed the action and /anything/ nasty had been found, OR the actual CPA had not bodged things up as bad as they did, they would not be looking too hot right now.

The Dem decision to roll over in 2002 was simple in game-theory terms:

Vote Yes, Things Go Not-Bad: +1.0
Vote Yes, Things Go Bad: 0.0
Vote No, Things Go Not-Bad: -100.0
Vote No, Things Go Bad: +1.0, and a cookie.

Even if there's a 90% chance of things going bad, the expected payoff of Yes is 0.9, while the expected payoff (going in) of No is still negative.

(Bush had the Votes for war any way, so a No vote was just a protest vote, anyway)
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:29 AM on September 6, 2006


All I read about around here is how Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz outmaneuvered everyone in Washington.

It's not really a matter of intelligence our maneuvering. When the president says, "I win, you lose," the game is over. He may be an idiot, but he's the idiot in charge.
posted by Jatayu das at 4:27 AM on September 6, 2006


If true, this is a big blow to the people claiming she was not covert and therefore no crime was committed.
posted by Kickstart70


There's never been any validity to claims she was not covert. From day one even the KoolKids press in DC recorded such as the fact it is.
posted by nofundy at 6:04 AM on September 6, 2006


nofundy writes "There's never been any validity to claims she was not covert."

That's never kept the "talking points" crowd from carpet-bombing forums from this blog to talk radio with that ludicrous claim. Unfortunately with today's ADD-ridden electorate (look! Gay people marrying! Civilization will collapse!) that's all it really takes. Just look at the "debate" over the existence of global warming that's materialized out of nothing but (hot) thin air in the past couple of years.
posted by clevershark at 6:12 AM on September 6, 2006


What you say is true clevershark, unfortunately.

Sometimes I'm conflicted, do I blame the liars (whom I at least understand, motive wise and such but do not agree with) or the masses of willfully ignorant (i.e. stupid) who eagerly slurp down the kool-aid and pronounce it good?
Both?
They deserve one another?
But that isn't quite fair to the rest of us who must suffer right along side the fools.
OK, I'm depressed now, I'll just go away and meditate or something.
posted by nofundy at 7:18 AM on September 6, 2006


I'm just gonna throw this out there -- if you have a covert identity, don't have your husband write op-eds in the New York Times about your supposedly covert activities (nevermind that maybe assigning him to do the investigating was a bad idea to begin with).

But wait, let me quote that neocon rag The Washington Post on what they think about this whole affair:

"Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously."
posted by Heminator at 7:33 AM on September 6, 2006


Unfortunately with today's ADD-ridden electorate (look! Gay people marrying! Civilization will collapse!) that's all it really takes. Just look at the "debate" over the existence of global warming that's materialized out of nothing but (hot) thin air in the past couple of years.
posted by clevershark at 9:12 AM EST on September 6 [+] [!]


I'm sorry, but isn't this another version of "How Cheney and Rumsfeld killed the CIA"/democrats as victims of republican strategy? Why can't the democrats steer the debate back to the real issues?

You know, I think that the democrats and I mean nearly all of the democrats in the house and senate secretly want the war in iraq and want the war on terror. At some point the democrats believe that they'll have the benefit of an expanded presidency and the license to spend money we will never have.

I wonder if there's some systemic reason we have to fight these wars that makes republicans and democrats fall into line, e.g. if we don't spend on the military the econmony slows to a halt, etc.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:48 AM on September 6, 2006


I'll wait for the article discussed in the blog.>

Uh, it's the first link in the post.

nevermind that maybe assigning him to do the investigating was a bad idea to begin with

I'm just gonna throw this out there -- maybe you should read the article:
Another issue was whether Valerie Wilson had sent her husband to Niger to check out an intelligence report that Iraq had sought uranium there. Hubris contains new information undermining the charge that she arranged this trip. In an interview with the authors, Douglas Rohn, a State Department officer who wrote a crucial memo related to the trip, acknowledges he may have inadvertently created a misimpression that her involvement was more significant than it had been.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:11 AM on September 6, 2006


Maybe they deserve power if everyone opposed to them seems to lose it so easily.

I believe the quote is as follows: Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Rather than: Power tends to corrupt; but it also provides a wonderfully lofty platform for rotting away in apathetic existence.

I wonder if there's some systemic reason we have to fight these wars that makes republicans and democrats fall into line, e.g. if we don't spend on the military the econmy slows to a halt, etc.

Hurf durf
posted by prostyle at 9:21 AM on September 6, 2006


Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson.

Excuse me?!? Revealing Valerie Plame's status as a CIA employee was a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, an act that was passed in 1982 in response to Philip Agee publishing the memoir, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, and the outing of CIA station chief Richard Welch by the magazine CounterSpy. In other words, Republican government officials, such as Scooter Libby, got indicted under a law that was passed in the early days of the Reagan Administration with overwhelming Republican support, which was originally intended to punish left-wing, anti-CIA activism that went on in the 1970s. I'm sorry, but it's Rove, Libby, and Cheney who have hoisted themselves on their own petard, not Joseph Wilson.
posted by jonp72 at 9:25 AM on September 6, 2006


Maybe they deserve power if everyone opposed to them seems to lose it so easily.

So, uh, "Might makes right"?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:36 AM on September 6, 2006


Why can't the democrats steer the debate back to the real issues?

Because, simply put, 55% of the population doesn't really seem to be moved by "real" issues. They only seem to care about fake ones (i.e.: that terrorism is scarier than driving a car, but you're more than ten thousand times less likely to be killed by a terrorist than you are in a traffic accident; gay marriage matters more than fiscal soundness; Jon Benet matters more than Valerie Plame; and so on).

The GOP tactic is to move the electorate with these venal/cynical issues, and the Dems keep getting clobbered when they try to bring the debate back to things that actually matter.

Is this a battle worth fighting. This administration isn't just corrupt, they are just the most self-dealing administration in history. Based on the behavior I see on my way to work, at work and at the store every day, we pretty much have the government we deserve.

Maybe a 1930's style economic collapse might wake everyone up. We're definitely headed in that direction. Short of that, we'll just keep losing.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 9:44 AM on September 6, 2006


we pretty much have the government we deserve.

To me this is unfair, blame-the-victim thinking. People seem ignorant and impotent because there are forces at work in our society that actively work to keep us ignorant and impotent, and those very same forces also happen to have the most economic clout (which gives them control over the flow of information and much of the political process). And I'm not just talking "The Big Conspiracy" here--I'm talking about little things like this:

"Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."

Short of armed revolt--which would inevitably come at a terrible price and couldn't really amount to anything more than a roll of the dice at this point in history, considering all the competing interests likely to throw their hats in the ring--what do you suggest? Satyagraha just doesn't sell anymore.

/off-topic rant
posted by saulgoodman at 10:21 AM on September 6, 2006


if you have a covert identity, don't have your husband write op-eds in the New York Times about your supposedly covert activities

WTF? Care to explain? When did Joe write about his wife's covert activity? [hint: never]

let me quote that neocon rag The Washington Post

Well, you got that part correct. I'm betting you have no idea who writes those editorials and their political bent or you would not have written that as though it were satirical.
posted by nofundy at 11:11 AM on September 6, 2006


I'm just gonna throw this out there -- if you have a covert identity, don't have your husband write op-eds in the New York Times about your supposedly covert activities (nevermind that maybe assigning him to do the investigating was a bad idea to begin with).

"If you don't want to get raped, don't wear that pretty red dress outside."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:17 AM on September 6, 2006


Standing up to civilian leadership is a civilian job. I’d rather have 10 Bushes in a row (discounting perhaps Neil) than one general who thinks he can run the show better. This doesn’t mean obeying illegal orders of course.

I don’t see how having a sibling who is undercover invalidates Wilson’s first amendment rights. Especially considering that Plame’s actual identity, which included being married to Wilson, was classified information. There would not be any risk to Plame unless someone decided to reveal that fact. If I say “Chris Phillips* is an asshole” My wife might get fired. If you know who he was. And who “smedleyman” is. And the relation between us. And (ultimately) who my wife was. Barring that, my opinion has no bearing on those relations excepting a betrayal of someone at metafilter. In the same way, Plame’s outing represented a betrayal of not only practice, but the law, for political reasons. Was it good operational security? Well, no. But Wilson already had a high profile (ambassador) and he was responding to what he saw as something damaging to his country. I very much doubt he took the matter lightly.

(*pulled that name outta my ass, btw. good opsec is good opsec. That and I've stopped wearing that pretty red dress)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:35 PM on September 6, 2006


"e.g. if we don't spend on the military the econmony slows to a halt, etc."

Yep, that's pretty much the core theory, Pastabagel.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:42 PM on September 6, 2006


Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials.

Heminator, would you care to explain what exactly was false in all that? Or are going to say that the Niger papers weren't blatant fakes and that Saddam actually got a huge stash of uranium, thankfully seized in your glorious war of liberation after the American soldiers disentangled themselves from the fervorously thankful, flower-throwing Iraqi masses?
posted by Skeptic at 3:25 PM on September 6, 2006


“I don’t see how having a sibling who is undercover invalidates Wilson’s first amendment rights”

I’m correct in thinking Wilson married his sister, right?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:28 PM on September 6, 2006




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