Valerie Plame May or May Not Leave CIA
The Washington Post, in a story that did not make the morning papers but contains no actual news, has rushed for publication on its website a story that Valerie Plame Wilson may resign because her career was “derailed” by Scooter Libby. Or, she may not. If her career was derailed to begin with.
Still, let’s look at the WaPo piece.
What’s next for Valerie Plame?
Lost in the din of the leak scandal that has consumed Washington is the very personal impact on the gracious, willowy CIA operative at its center. Plame, the wife of former U.S. ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and arguably the most famous spy in the world, is not likely to stay at the CIA, some acquaintances say.
Not likely? Some acquaintances say? Well, there’s a breaking news story if ever I heard one.
With her career derailed, Plame, 42, the mother of 5-year-old twins, hasn’t publicly signaled her plans. But privately she has said that she feels she has no future at the spy agency where she has worked for 20 years. “She really wants to be with her kids . . . to be that mom,” her friend Jane Honikman said last night. Although Plame has been under “tremendous stress” as the subject of global publicity and political spin, Honikman added, “she has a good sense of humor still and a wonderful, charming ability to look on the bright side.”
If her career was ruined by the Novak publication, it was ruined well over two years ago. She’s smart enough to be a covert CIA officer and she he’s still trying to figure that out?
In 2006, Plame marks her 20th year as a CIA officer, the vast majority of her service spent in the shadows as a clandestine operative. She qualifies for retirement but would not receive full benefits unless she stayed with the agency until age 50.
After her cover was blown by syndicated columnist Robert Novak in July 2003, Plame had no chance of working again in her chosen field, her friends say, and the strain of remaining at the agency has taken its toll. “For all intents and purposes out at the CIA, she’s like a leper . . . she’s radioactive,” said Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and acquaintance of Plame’s who was in her officer training class in 1985-86. “There are instances where some people at headquarters have shunned her. In other cases, they don’t know what to say. It’s like someone whose child has died: What do you say to them? . . .
“There are a variety of things she could have done at the agency,” Johnson said. “She could have become a station chief overseas and run espionage operations. It has destroyed her life on that front. What is she supposed to do now, wear a button saying, ” ‘Hi, I work for the CIA’?”
This is nonsense. The woman has five year old twins and is married to a man who, even absent the revelation of her name and source of employment, is a preening media hound. Are we really to believe that she was going to be sent overseas for undercover work?!