Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Heart of the Matter
Flame On

David Wallechinsky over at the HuffPo reminds us why this whole PlameGate affair is important:
There appear to be many people who believe that the Valerie Plame outing is really just a tempest in a teapot because, at the time that Robert Novak wrote about her on July 14, 2003, Plame was no longer in the field and was instead stationed at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

Keep in mind that while she was in the field, Plame’s cover was that she was an energy consultant. Lost in the uproar is the fact that Novak’s outing of Plame allowed foreign intelligence agencies to easily discover that her cover company, Brewster Jennings & Associates of Boston, was really a CIA front. In so doing, Novak exposed not only Valerie Plame, but any other CIA agent who ever used that fake company as his or her cover. It should also be clear that any other covert agents who worked with Plame lost their covers as well.
Those who believe that this case is much ado about nothing must assume that when Plame left the field and returned to Langley, she cut off all contact with anyone she had ever met in the energy field. In reality, she probably told her most important foreign energy contacts that her company had reassigned her to the home office back in the United States, encouraged them to keep in touch by email, promised to visit them next time she was in country and invited them to look her up if they ever came to the United States. By keeping her cover, the CIA left open the possibility that they could send her back overseas for the occasional visit and even that she might someday be reassigned overseas, still posing as an energy consultant. In fact, it is quite possible that one or more of her unsuspecting contacts could, in the meantime, have been promoted to an important position in their company or in their government, which would have made her continuing covert status extremely useful.


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