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Wednesday, December 03, 2003

That Valerie Plame -- She Sure Knows How to Stay Concealed

This has been going around the blogosphere all day, but I figured I'd throw in my two cents, and then post a few links to other reactions. Here, from the original Washington Post story by Howard Kurtz, is the covert agent's current top-secret project:

Former ambassador Joseph Wilson has been quite protective of his wife, Valerie Plame, in the weeks since her cover as a CIA operative was blown. "My wife has made it very clear that -- she has authorized me to say this -- she would rather chop off her right arm than say anything to the press and she will not allow herself to be photographed," he declared in October on "Meet the Press."

Here's the woman who will not allow herself to be photographed in the Vanity Fair issue that went on sale today:

It's not that Plame has dropped out of sight. In October, as Vanity Fair notes, she was at the National Press Club -- wearing a "sharp cream pantsuit" -- while her husband received a truth-telling award. Wilson wept from the podium, saying, "If I could give you back your anonymity . . ." and then introduced Plame, who also teared up.

Plame also mingled unobtrusively last month at a party at the home of The Washington Post's Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn. But there has been an invisible bubble around her as reporters have respected the desire of "Jane Bond," as Wilson calls her, to remain in the Washington shadows.

Well, Lord knows, this is how covert operatives around the world keep their secret identities hidden -- by giving media interviews, attending parties at the home of one of the country's most influential journalists, and having splashy pictorials, Jackie-O style, in widely-read magazines. James Bond kept a lower profile than this, for Pete's sake. You can't tell me that the CIA would approve a splashy pictorial on one of its agents if they really were active and covert, as Wilson and Plame claim, despite Wilson's assertion that

"The pictures should not be able to identify her, or are not supposed to," Wilson said yesterday. "She's still not going to answer any questions and there will not be any pictures that compromise her." The reason, said Wilson, is that "she's still employed" by the CIA "and has obligations to her employer."

Nor is anyone else really buying Wilson's story any more. Slate's Timothy Noah took a week off from his weekly scheduled Bush-bashing to say this:

Chatterbox spares Plame Whopper status, possibly on grounds of misplaced gallantry. But Plame's extended striptease, enthusiastically barked by her husband, now has Chatterbox wondering how much of Wilson's story to believe. (It also has Chatterbox wondering when the couple will start renting themselves out for birthday parties.) Regardless of the merits, this photograph will surely give the Bush Justice Department whatever slim justification it seeks in dropping its Plamegate investigation.

Roger Simon wants a question answered now (via Instapundit):

Now that Instapundit and others have outed John C. Wilson and his spouse Valerie Plame as the media whores they are, posing in Vanity Fair of all places, we are back to square one with the real questions of this putative scandal...

Who sent John C. Wilson to Niger in the first place and why did he or she or they do it? Wilson, obviously, is no George Smiley--he's more of a "Smiley George." (The ex-ambassador himself admitted he was just going there to "drink tea" with various leaders to find out if they were selling "yellowcake" to Iraq... as if!)

Check out some of the comments on Roger's post, too; Glenn Reynolds notes that some fanatical Wilson supporters seem to be calling Roger a "chickendiplomat". It's odd that they consider a man who holds press conferences with a noose for a necktie and who shops his "covert" wife around for Vanity Fair pictorials to be more credible than British intelligence, but that's the lunacy of the Bush haters these days.

Jon at QandO gets the last word with this:

Do you get the impression that Wilson isn't really all that concerned about anonymity? Or that he's writing a book? You'd be right about the latter. And the former seems pretty obvious. That's not to say that something illegal/unethical didn't occur in outting Plame....but Wilson and Plame are acting a lot more like lottery winners than outted spies.

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08:41 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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The main defense from the lefty blogosphere is "Bush posed in Vanity Fair too," providing a wonderful example for future textbooks on bad debate tactics for years to come...

Posted by: HH at Dec 4, 2003 3:10:05 AM

plop plop fizz fizz oh what a relief it is!

Posted by: constapated at Dec 9, 2004 4:21:00 PM