Plame Working on Iran WMD When Outed
The lefty blogosphere is abuzz over a story reported on Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” (which, for reasons never quite clear to me, they ordinarily consider right wing propaganda) that Valerie Plame was working on Iranian WMD when she was outed by Bob Novak and others.
Raw Story, quoting a report by David Schuster:
INTELLIGENCE SOURCES SAY VALERIE WILSON WAS PART OF AN OPERATION THREE YEARS AGO TRACKING THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS MATERIAL INTO IRAN. AND THE SOURCES ALLEGE THAT WHEN MRS. WILSON’S COVER WAS BLOWN, THE ADMINISTRATION’S ABILITY TO TRACK IRAN’S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS WAS DAMAGED AS WELL.
As Joe would say, this is huge. According to US intelligence officials, White House employee, and top Bush aide, Karl Rove destroyed Valerie Plame’s career in the CIA at a time when Plame was working on tracking whether and when Iran would get nukes.
So not only was CIA agent Valerie Plame still working undercover, she was in fact working on stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And senior Bush adviser Karl Rove is the person who ended her career by leaking her identity to conservative writer Bob Novak.
The only problem is that, if the “intelligence sources” are right (and Tom Maguire is skeptical), it still doesn’t tell us anything like that. Everyone working at CIA is “part” of an “operation” of some sort. The question is which part. She was, by all accounts, working at a desk in Langley, living with her husband and helping raise their twins. Because her status is classified, causing us to have to speculate, we do not know whether she was some sort of analyst or a case manager. We do now that she was not, at this juncture, a field officer.
Whoever blew her identity–and it’s far from clear that Rove was the first to do so, even discounting the fact that Aldridge Aimes had already done so years before–ruined whatever prospects she had for returning to work as an undercover officer in the future. That’s a bad thing. Depending on intent and the sequence of events, it’s also illegal. Peter Fitgerald and company are working on that angle as we speak. As Matt Drudge would say, it’s “DEVELOPING . . . ”
What the leak did not do, however, is damage Valerie Plame/Wilson’s ability to contribute her expertise as a desk officer at Langley. It did not, therefore, harm her ability to do whatever supervisory, managerial, and/or analytical work she was doing to track Iran’s nuclear program. Indeed, she continued to work for the CIA for more than two years after the Novak story broke.
Further, no one I’m aware of has argued that our ability to track Iran’s progress in gaining nuclear weapons is at issue, period. The problem is our decided lack of good options in responding to what we do know.