Skip to comments.Spy at Center of Leak Case Still in Shadow
Posted on 07/04/2005 8:51:10 PM PDT by SmithL
WASHINGTON, July 1 - For nearly two years, the investigation into the leak of a covert C.I.A. officer's name has unfolded clamorously in the nation's capital, with partisan brawling on talk shows, prosecutors interviewing President Bush and top White House officials, and the imminent prospect that reporters could go to jail for contempt of court.
But the woman at the center of it all, Valerie E. Wilson, has kept her silence, showing the discipline and discretion that colleagues say made her a good spy. As her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, has become a highly visible critic of the administration and promoted his memoirs, Ms. Wilson has ferried their 5-year-old twins to doctors' appointments, looked after their hilltop house in the upscale Palisades neighborhood of Washington and counseled women with postpartum depression.
On June 1, after a year's unpaid leave, Ms. Wilson, now known to the country by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, returned to a new job at the Central Intelligence Agency, determined to get her career back on track, her husband said. Neither the agency nor Mr. Wilson would describe her position, except to make what might seem an obvious point: she will no longer be working under cover, as she did successfully for almost 20 years.
"Before this whole affair, no one would ever have thought of her as an undercover agent," said David Tillotson, a next-door neighbor for seven years who got to know the Wilsons well over back-fence chats, shared dinners and play dates for their grandchildren with the Wilsons' children, Trevor and Samantha.
"She wasn't mysterious," Mr. Tillotson said. "She was sort of a working soccer mom."
He recalled his incredulity on July 14, 2003, when his wife, Victoria, spotted in The Washington Post, in a syndicated column by Robert Novak,...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
She's smart to avoid making public comments, since, if she spoke, she surely would be forced to contradict one or more of her husband's statements.
He's all ready contradicted himself a number of times. If she agrees with one statement of his, she will automatically be disagreeing with another statement.
Is posing for a two-page spread in Vanity Faire discreet?
Like Tom Foley former House Speaker said about the October Surprise, there's no evidence that's why we have to hold hearings.
That is total hogwash. Everyone in Washington's social set knew what she did and who she was. She was very cavalier about her covert status--that is, until it became possible to hurt Bush with this non-story, and then suddenly she is James Bond. This whole story is absolutely meaningless. Bush never should have appointed a special investigation of this crap.
I wish someone still has that photo of Joe and Val on the magazine cover. One look at this gorgeous, handsome, self-confident, happy, wealthy DC power couple (retch) is worth all the articles in the world about them.
I have trouble with the political correctness gig but shouldn't that either be MS. Plame or MRS. Wilson? I'd never make a good Liberal.
Get a load of this...
So, she was put on a year's unpaid leave. That's the first we've heard of that, I believe.
And like the CIA isn't saying what her "new job" is, they never confirmed she was covert, either, yet the New York Times states it as if it's established fact.
(I'm not saying she wasn't, but while evidence indicates she well may have been years ago, it also indicates she hadn't been in many years, either)
There's also another picture of the Wilsons at an event and they're seated at a table with a stack of his books.
I recall another time when he spoke at the National Press Club with wifey in tow.
No, the New York Times is being more than slightly disingenuous with this description of plucky Val exhibiting discretion.
He [a neighbor of the Wilsons] recalled his incredulity on July 14, 2003, when his wife, Victoria, spotted in The Washington Post, in a syndicated column by Robert Novak, a line identifying their neighbor by her maiden name
The public record seems to always refer to Valerie Plame, including Wilson's now deleted online biography that was posted online at the Middle East Institute.
Days before the leak, he had gone public in a New York Times Op-Ed article and television appearances to charge that the administration had covered up his own debunking of reports that Iraq had bought uranium in Africa.
The New York Times omits the fact that Wilson's "findings" from Niger were
a)Nothing close to a "debunking" and
b)Never briefed to the WH
But there's more
What he calls a "smear campaign" against the couple has catalyzed his transformation from nonpartisan diplomat -
The man was publishing anti-Bush screeds in places like The Nation well before this trumped-up "smear campaign. In fact, before the war in Iraq even commenced (with nary a word about uranium or any concerns he had about misinformation---he was working other anti-war/anti-Bush angles at the time). What a lying jackass...what lying jackasses; The Wilsons and the New York Times.
Back to the name business and more Wilson disingenuousness meant to hint her maiden name was some secret:
Meanwhile, Ms. Wilson, 42, whose husband said she has used her married name both at work and in her personal life since their 1998 marriage
Again, Wilson listed her on his (now conveniently excised bio) as "The former Valerie Plame".
Snort. Some shadow.
So...who was the CIA superior who had this sudden interest in her husband's expertise? I suppose it's Foley. Of course it's parsing in the extreme to deny his wife had a role in recommending him for the trip.
He scoffs at the notion that a trip to one of the poorest countries on earth, for which he was paid only his expenses, was some kind of prize.
First I've heard of the "prize" characterization. I just want to know why he was sent and didn't do a proper investigation which was the ostensible purpose of the trip and why he didn't write a report.
"misspoken"? He made the purported link between the forged documents and his Niger trip a key element in his charges. He lied.
Too precious, holding up his twins (he has two sets) as shields. We even learn their names and other little anecdotes from the always so discreet Wilson.
My belief is that the media has been holding out on providing the name of the "informant" within the administration because it doesn't want to reveal an anti-Bush mole.
Friday, June 17, 2005
NYT: "Antiwar Group Says Leaked British Memo Shows Bush Misled Public on His War Plans" (Scott Shane)
Every now and then, we get a nasty little e-mail about how we play favorites here with regards to the Times reporters. (And some of those nasty little e-mails are from Times' reporters.) We're accused of gushing over Raymond Bonner, Amy Waldman or Scott Shane.
Shane opens today's story: "Opponents of the war in Iraq held an unofficial hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday to draw attention to a leaked British government document that they say proves their case that President Bush misled the public about his war plans in 2002 and distorted intelligence to support his policy. In a jammed room in the basement of the Capitol, Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, presided as witnesses asserted that the 'Downing Street memo' -- minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top security officials -- vindicated their view that Mr. Bush made the decision to topple Saddam Hussein long before he has admitted. 'Thanks to the Downing Street minutes, we now know the truth,' said Ray McGovern, a C.I.A. analyst for 27 years who helped organize a group of other retired intelligence officers to oppose the war."
Shane ignored some of McGovern's outlandish comments as a member of that group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. In April 2003, McGovern suggested to Agence France Presse that the United States would plant WMD if they failed to find it: "Some of my colleagues are virtually certain that there will be some weapons of mass destruction found, even though they might have to be planted."
There was another noteworthy omission by the Times. Reporter Scott Shane didn't even mention the inconvenient presence on the four-person panel of discredited anti-war voice Joe Wilson, whose wife, Valerie Plame, suggested he be sent to Niger to investigate possible uranium purchases by Saddam Hussein. Wilson had said she had not played a role. In addition, the Senate found Wilson's report from Niger actually bolstered the case that Hussein had sought uranium from Niger, though Wilson claimed his trip should have buried that idea and accused Bush of ignoring his findings in a rush to war.
For the full Shane report, click here:
Here's an old New York Times column (notice it's not referenced by the very same Times to provide context for this piece) that refers to her status (and makes the State Department connection I just referred to):
October 11, 2003
First, the C.I.A. suspected that Aldrich Ames had given Mrs. Wilson's name (along with those of other spies) to the Russians before his espionage arrest in 1994. So her undercover security was undermined at that time, and she was brought back to Washington for safety reasons.
Second, as Mrs. Wilson rose in the agency, she was already in transition away from undercover work to management, and to liaison roles with other intelligence agencies. So this year, even before she was outed, she was moving away from "noc" which means non-official cover, like pretending to be a business executive. After passing as an energy analyst for Brewster-Jennings & Associates, a C.I.A. front company, she was switching to a new cover as a State Department official, affording her diplomatic protection without having "C.I.A." stamped on her forehead.
I don't take everything in the column at face value and some information in it appears conflicting. Novak said her name was readily given and when he said he would publish it, after the first perfunctory "don't" no further urging to withhold the information was given---Novak said his experience is if she had been covert at the time or the knowledge harmful to others he would have been strongly advised not to disclose it and this simply did not happen.
That's the picture...thanks!
Thanks for the ping! I can't get it in the NYT at the moment--usually get in through my library and it's not letting me in right now--does the article say *why* she was put on a year's unpaid leave?
Pinging you to my question in #25, regarding something you mention in #11.
According to Vanity Fair, the photo was taken at the magazine's annual dinner for the Tribeca Film Festival, and Plame's and Wilson's fellow guests included Robert deNiro, Nicole Kidman, Barry Diller, Willem Dafoe, John McEnroe, and many others. Plame's and Wilson's photo appears below a shot of David Bowie and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.
The Corner is commenting on the Times slurpfest:
It does not say why.
It's interesting because if she were the victim of retaliation you'd think the CIA would have put her on paid leave if they felt she needed to be absent from the agency during the course of the investigation...
In 1997, Plame moved back to the Washington area, partly because (as was recently reported in The New York Times) the C.I.A. suspected that her name may have been on a list given to the Russians by the double agent Aldrich Ames in 1994.
If part of the reason for her recall to Washington was that the Agency was concerned Ames had compromised her, it stands to reason they were no longer using her for undercover work after that. It also may raise other questions if she was put on unpaid leave as well.
Yuk, Valerie could use some shoulder pads if she wants to be half a power couple. She looks like a sock puppet.
Well, I guess if you want to move up in DC liberal society circles, you can't be too rich or too thin.
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