Skip to comments.Walter Pincus knew Valerie since 1996
Posted on 11/21/2005 1:05:16 AM PST by SBD1Edited on 11/21/2005 1:31:30 AM PST by Jim Robinson. [history]
BODY: She was a CIA case officer working in Europe covertly, holding herself out as the representative of a Texas foundation that was interested in world economics.
Unlike most CIA case officers overseas who work out of U.S. embassies and purport to be diplomats, she was operating under what CIA calls "nonofficial cover" (NOC).
NOC NOC. Whos There? A Special Kind of Agent Time Magazine Michael Duffy and Timothy J. Burger October 27th, 2003
Some Bush partisans have suggested that the outing of Plame is no big deal, that she was just an analyst or maybe, as a G.O.P. Congressman told CNN, a glorified secretary. But the facts tell otherwise. Plame was, for starters, a former NOC that is, a spy with nonofficial cover who worked overseas as a private individual with no apparent connection to the U.S. government. NOCs are among the governments most closely guarded secrets, because they often work for real or fictive private companies overseas and are set loose to spy solo. NOCs are harder to train, more expensive to place and can remain undercover longer than conventional spooks. They can also go places and see people whom those under official cover cannot. They are in some ways the most vulnerable of all clandestine officers, since they have no claim to diplomatic immunity if they get caught.
Plame worked as a spy internationally in more than one role. Fred Rustmann, a former CIA official who put in 24 years as a spymaster and was Plames boss for a few years, says Plame worked under official cover in Europe in the early 1990s say, as a U.S. embassy attache before switching to nonofficial cover a few years later. Mostly Plame posed as a business analyst or a student in what Rustmann describes as a nice European city. Plame was never a so-called deep-cover NOC, he said, meaning the agency did not create a complex cover story about her education, background, job, personal life and even hobbies and habits that would stand up to intense scrutiny by foreign governments. [NOCs] are on corporate rolls, and if anybody calls the corporation, the secretary says, Yeah, he works for us, says Rustmann. The degree of backstopping to a NOCs cover is a very good indication of how deep that cover really is.
For decades, a varying number of NOCs (the exact figure is classified) have been installed abroad in big multinational corporations, small companies or bogus academic posts. The more genteel rules of traditional espionage do not apply to NOCs. When the Soviets caught a diplomat doing spy work during the cold war, they roughed him up a little and sent him home. Unmasked NOCs, on the other hand, have met with much harsher fates: CIA officer Hugh Redmond was caught in Shanghai in 1951 posing as an employee of a British import-export company and spent 19 years in a Chinese prison before dying there. In early 1995 the French rolled up five CIA officers, including a woman who had been working as a NOC under business cover for about five years. Although the NOC caught in Paris in 1995 was simply sent home, it might not have been so easy in an Arab country, says a former CIA official familiar with the matter. [NOCs] have no diplomatic status, so they can end up in slammers.
So, if I am correct, then Pincus knew Valerie back in 1996 when he wrote that story. In 1996, she would still be Valerie Plame since she didnt marry Joe until 1998. This explains why her maiden name was used because it probably took some of them a while to put 2 and 2 together to conclude Valerie Wilson is Valerie Plame from 1996 Paris flap!!
When tradecraft errors led to her entrapment by French counterintelligence
Translated, that means she screwed up.
Sounds to me like Valerie was on Paris vacation and not a spy mission.
No doubt she bragged about being a secret agent on their second date.
Tradecraft Errors". That ain't exactly waitress talk.
Is this another FR exclusive?
Super Spy Women was an incompetant hack.
I absolutely agree with your conclusion that the woman Pincus wrote about in 1996 was Plame. It is likely, however, that he got the story about her second-hand and didn't know her personally and didn't even know her name.
However, this certainly nails down the timeline - - she was exposed "several years" prior to 1996 and brought in. She was obviously not "covert" after that and so her status could not have triggered any violation of the Intelligence Identities act which specifies "abroad" and "within five years".
This story also seems to kill the theory that Plame was brought in because of a fear that her identity had been revealed by Aldrich Ames.
One more thing: It will be interesting to see Libby's lawyers questioning Pincus about this story on the stand, under oath. That's going to be one fun trial (if it actually gets that far).
I think Valerie was more of an "under the sheets" CIA operative than "under cover".
with agents like her no wonder the cia is so f***ed up.
makes get smart look legit.
And like any NOC working over seas she was considered by just about any intell agency to be a CIA operative untill proven otherwise. NOC's only are intended to fool civilans, not other intell agancies because they never trust any foreigner working in their country.
Tradecraft-errors = incompetent