Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Monday, October 20, 2003
 
Time has a new article purporting to give new information on the career and cover of Valerie Plame.

Fred Rustmann, a former CIA official who put in 24 years as a spymaster and was Plame's boss for a few years, says Plame worked under official cover in Europe in the early 1990s — say, as a U.S. embassy attache — before switching to nonofficial cover a few years later. Mostly Plame posed as a business analyst or a student in what Rustmann describes as a "nice European city."...

Though Plame's cover is now blown, it probably began to unravel years ago when Wilson first asked her out. Rustmann describes Plame as an "exceptional officer" but says her ability to remain under cover was jeopardized by her marriage in 1998 to the higher-profile American diplomat.

The odd thing about this is that it seems to contradict the story which came out earlier that Plame wasn't used in a cover capacity since 1994, due to fears that her cover had been blown by Aldrich Ames. It's just barely possible to make that story fit with Plame switching from official to NOC status at some point in the 1990s, but it takes some squeezing. And the story that her cover "began to unravel" when she started dating Wilson flatly contradicts the account that it had been ruined years earlier.

Maybe I'm just getting paranoid, but I find this pattern highly suspicious. Originally, we had one, now wholly discredited, account that she was never a true spy to begin with. Once it was clear that wouldn't stand, two further accounts of Plame's cover history, with conflicting details but with the same bottom line - that by 2003 her cover was no big deal - were leaked to major news outlets. Are we still getting more spin than truth?



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