Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Valerie Plame as James Bond

First, they said Plame was doing some vague covert operations, but of great importance for American national security.  They they said she was working out of Turkey, successfully preventing the Bush Administration from sneaking weapons of mass destruction into Iraq.  Then they said she was actually working to prevent Iran’s nuclear program.  The most recent attempt is to claim she was working to stop the Khan-Pakistani nuclear bomb salesroom.  I fully expect next to hear that she was spotted in Caracas, with a large false mustache, stopping the Venezuelan nuclear program.

Actually, she almost certainly was not doing any of these things.  Her name had been blown by Ames, and was in the hands of the Russians and the Cubans.  With just the name, any intelligence agency can follow through the whole nexus using readily available information.  Dana Priest, who seems to know more about this story than anyone, has recently said that it is his understanding that the damage from Plame’s blown cover “was not great”.

It’s a damned shame, but the sad fact of the matter is that Plame wasn’t important to American security interests.  The neocons, who didn’t care one way or the other, got lucky in the fact that the person Wilson happened to be married to wasn’t very important.  What Cheney and the boys did was wrong, but overstating Plame’s importance will just eventually play into their hands, when they are able to reveal, at the right tactical time, that she wasn’t James Bond.