We hear a lot of talk about patriots these days. In fact the word is literally used "left and right" to describe all sorts of people from politicians to pundits. One person you won't hear the term attributed to however, at least by the right wing in this country, is Valerie Plame
And here's why.
Valerie Plame first entered the world in 1963, the daughter of a Lt. Colonel in the United States Air Force. In fact, she was born on a US Air Force Base — Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage Alaska. Her father was not only a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force, but worked for the National Security Agency for about three years when Valerie was young, giving Valerie her first look at the clandestine world of national intelligence, and no doubt helped shape her future career plans, which involved one thing and one thing only.
Serving her country.
A career choice Ms. Plame was well suited to, given her superior intellect and skills not to mention remarkable good looks which are no doubt an asset in the clandestine world. In 1985 Valerie was accepted into the CIA's Officer training program, and never looked back. She was installed as a Non Official Cover Officer which is the most clandestine role the CIA has to offer. As a covert operative who speaks 4 languages, assignments took her to Greece, Iraq, Turkey and parts of Europe. She worked to protect US officials including George H W Bush during his visit to Greece, whose native tongue is included in her repertoire of languages. Plame was a rising star in the CIA with a BA from Penn State, and not one but two Masters degrees, one from London School of Economics and Political Science, and one from The College of Europe, in Belgium. Plame speaks English, German, French and Greek and is an expert in nuclear anti-proliferation.
Then, in 2003, it all came to a screeching halt.
ry 2002 the CIA asked Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame's husband, to travel to Niger to confirm the validity of a report of that Iraq had an agreement to purchase Uranium from Niger to be used by Saddam Hussein to manufacture nuclear weapons. Wilson traveled to Niger, met with the former Prime Minister who was the one approached by "an Iraqi businessman" who discussed strengthening trade agreements with Niger. Wilson researched the events and concluded there was nothing there and reported back to the Select Committee on Intelligence that the accusations of a sales agreement between Niger and Iraq was clearly false.
However in January 2003, President George W Bush announced in his State of the Union address, the opposite, with these 16 immortal words; "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa". Naturally Wilson was astounded that the President presented this information to the world as fact, even after Wilson had reported almost a year earlier to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee that the story was false.
This bothered Wilson, and on July 6, 2003, Wilson wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed piece that Bush had misrepresented the intelligence and wrongly used it to help justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Although several committees including the Butler Report, the Senate Intelligence Commission and the Senate Select Committee on intelligence at various times attempted to disprove Wilson's conclusions, none were ever able to produce any solid evidence to validate the claims that a sales agreement for Yellow Cake existed between Iraq and Niger, or that it was ever discussed with the former Prime Minister of Niger, Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki. In fact the US State Dept agreed with Wilson, as did the CIA, that the claims were false and thus discredited.
Fitzgerald knew Rove had leaked the information, as did Libby, but their diversionary testimonies and stonewalling made it impossible for Fitzgerald to prove it. Then on October 28, 2005, Libby was charged a 5 count indictment for lying to the Special Prosecutor Perjury and Obstruction of Justice. Libby, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, following his indictments, resigned in disgrace, and on March 6, 2007, he was found guilty of all but one of the indictments, and sentenced to 30 months in prison. a 250,000 dollar fine, and 2 years probation. President Bush immediately intervened, and overruled the courts ruling, granting Libby Clemency, and thus discarding the justice process.
Libby never denied that he learned of Plame's identity from Vice President Cheney, and thus while the Grand Jury's commission was expired and Fitzgerald returned to his "day job", the investigation is by no means over. But what we know is this. Rove and Libby leaked Plames identity, to discredit her husband Joe Wilson's report to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee to sell the war in Iraq to the American people and the Congress. This act alone would be enough for all but the most deluded of Bush followers, to abandon him as a traitor to the country. But the right wing has staved off a mass exodus by claiming over and over, that Plame "never was a covert op", which of course is a lie. Court records filed during the Libby hearing, and subsequent CIA information proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Plame was indeed covert and working on several clandestine anti-nuclear proliferation operations, including providing Iran with bogus data on the construction of nuclear weapons. But the right wing ignores this information, and continues to smear Plame, her husband, and her 20 year career as a covert CIA operative.
But tonight, on CBS's 60 Minutes, Katie Couric interviews Valerie Plame for the first time since her cover was blown by the Bush administration. In the interview, Couric will outline some of the actual damage done to the CIA, their long term covert operations, and the absolute danger the outing has placed numerous CIA covert operatives around the Globe. Couric will report how the day the Novak story came out, embassy's all over the world began frantically researching to see if the stealthy Mrs Plame had entered their country, and who she had contacted during her visits. Intelligence agencies began investigations all over the world to determine the extent of Mrs Plames activities and the persons associated with those activities, thus compromising potentially dozens of CIA covert operations and potentially hundreds of CIA covert operatives around the globe. We will hear how the work she performed was actually designed to stop Iran from ever developing nuclear technology, and thus averting the threats that President Bush claims to be so utterly concerned with. We will learn, how a President, and his staff, caused the country to be placed in greater threat from nuclear war, simply because they wanted to invade the nation of Iraq.
So with all the talk of patriotism and patriots that we hear from the right, tonight, CBS news, and Katie Couric, will give the world a birds eye view of an actual Patriot. One who dedicated her entire adult life to her country, and to keeping it safe from nuclear weapons. And we will hear first hand how the President who cries so loudly about his fear of those nuclear weapons in the hands of countries like Iran, destroyed the operations the CIA had worked so hard to develop, to keep those nuclear weapons from countries like Iran. And perhaps more importantly we'll get a keen glimpse into the tactics and strategy of the right wing Bush supporters, and their never ending efforts to provide lies and misdirection to real questions and real issues.
Thanks to Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation we know that both the President's and Vice President's Chiefs of Staff were the source of the leaks, which implicates the President and the Vice President as their source. If it had been just one Chief of Staff working alone, then perhaps one could argue it was a solitary self motivated effort. But both Chiefs of staff along with the White House Press Secretary and the Deputy Secretary of State indicate that it was not a solitary effort, but a combined, decisive attempt to smear two American Patriots, and in doing so, they destroyed years worth of highly classified work that was designed to keep America safe from nuclear threats, something the President claims is his primary goal. And since the right wing knows that most Americans know that Bush and Cheney were the original sources of the leak, their strategy has changed over the last year to discredit the notion that Valerie Plame was a covert operative. But in just one short hour, their collective denial of "Yes they did it, but she wasn't a covert op and her job wasn't classified, so therefore no crime was committed, no harm was done" is about to be dismantled once and for all.
Tonight we'll see a true American Patriot, who works for one of the most patriotic organizations this country has, the unsung heroes of the CIA, who's mission is to stop wars before they get started. Tonight we'll see what the crowd "calling" themselves Patriots, do to the actual Patriots of our country. Tonight we'll see why this Patriot, who dedicated 20 years of her life to serving her country in an organization where accolades are given only in secret, and medals are seen only by the recipient, had her career and work destroyed by the President and Vice President. To sell their lousy war. A war that if they had only let the CIA do their jobs, would never need to have been fought.