Monday, November 5, 2007

Plame speaks to Dems


Valerie Plame told a packed house at the Doubletree Resort on Saturday that she remembers the day her life came crashing down 4 1/2 years ago as if it happened yesterday.
“Joe came into our bedroom very early on Sunday morning, tossed the paper on the bed and said, ‘The SOB did it,’” recalled the ex-CIA agent, referring to her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who had brought in a copy of the Washington Post that contained Robert Novak’s column outing her as a covert operative.

A week earlier, in July of 2003, Wilson had written an op-ed piece in the New York Times entitled “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” refuting one of the Bush Administration’s rationales for the Iraq war: potential nuclear weapons in Iraq as mentioned in the State of the Union address that January. Wilson had been sent by the CIA to follow up on reports that Iraq had been acquiring materials for nuclear weapons in Niger, but discovered that the allegations had no basis.
While both Plame and Wilson had expected possible retaliation against the former Ambassador, neither expected those efforts to extend to revealing Plame and Wilson’s relationship — and thereby the identity of the covert CIA operative, she said.
“I was stunned. I immediately thought about the assets, the network (I had developed) over the years, and my family’s security,” she said. “And of course I knew in an instant that my career as I knew it was over.
“Call me na├»ve, but I didn’t expect treason by senior Administration officials.”
Plame spoke at the hotel at the behest of the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara, which invited the former agent and husband Wilson — a UCSB alumnus — to spearhead the organization’s annual luncheon. The speech was her third public appearance since the recent publication of her book, “Fair Game: My Life as Spy, My Betrayal by the White House.”
Publication was delayed while Plame battled with the CIA over redactions to the text. The volume finally came out late last month with the deleted sections indicated by blacked-out type.
The fallout from her outing led to a special prosecutor being appointed to investigate the leak, which culminated in the conviction of former Vice Presidential aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby for lying and obstruction of justice for impeding the investigation.
President Bush commuted Libby’s prison sentence shortly after his appeal was denied.
Plame is suing both the CIA for censoring her manuscript and various administration officials for leaking her identity and thus ruining her career.
“They cut off any opportunitiy for me to do my job, working for national security,” she said. “What’s underneath those black lines isn’t truly classified. It has everything to do with punitive action, and attempts to diminish me and thereby diminish the crime much more than actually protected classified information.”
Plame said she believes it’s her civic responsibility to pursue the case.
“They cut off any opportunitiy for me to do my job, working for national security,” she said. “This story is so important because it’s about the consequences of speaking truth to power. And how important it is as citizens that we hold our government accountable for its words and deeds.
“I’m a public person by default. If none of this had happened, I’d be very happily living overseas with my family working on....counterproliferation.”

1 comment:

Vigilante said...

All that beauty and brains, too!