« Wikipedia Looks To Eject Trolls | Main | Sewergate: The final update »

A Lesson to be Learned From the Plame Case

In the kerfuffle below about the Plame case, Kevin has a quote that I think is largely true:

But how did that combination "out" a covert agent? It turns out the the Valerie Plame name (remember, according to many commenters her name's no big deal) was her cover. If her cover name was Valerie Jones how exactly would Novak's column as it was written have "outed" her?

OK let me make thing clear... For all the jaw yammering in the comments down there, 99% of it is bullshit because all we know is what has been leaked from various sources -- all of whom have a dog in the fight. The truth is we'll probably know who shot JFK and what's in Area 51 before we learn the whole story on who told what to who.. or to whom.

But having said that, to the best of our knowledge what Kevin said is accurate... The CIA (apparently) had a covert operative who -quite creatively indeed- took her real name as her code name. That's a little like Joe Smith logging into a secure website with a username of "Joe" and a password of "Smith."

It's been widely known the CIA is/was in desperate need of reform. But if the above is true it is worse that anyone has imagined. For starters, what if they googled that name? They'd be a pretty strong chance the cover will be blown some kind of way... It's so stupid it strains credulity that it can be true but apparently it is. (Hey, Joe Wilson said it, so it must be true, right?) But at least we can all take a lesson from other people's suffering.

Pick a decent password.

It might not seem important today but it sure will be when it gets out.

(And by the way... If your password is your last name, then yeah, I'm looking at you.)

Comments (27)

Umm...it's 'Area 51, Maybe ... (Below threshold)

Umm...it's 'Area 51, Maybe you were thinking of 'Studio 54?'

Wait a minute. Andy Warhol'... (Below threshold)

Wait a minute. Andy Warhol's buried at Area 51?

shows how much attention I ... (Below threshold)

shows how much attention I pay to whack job conspiracy theories huh? thanks.

heh- You know I mighta been... (Below threshold)

heh- You know I mighta been thinking of studio 54...

I'm old enough to remember the 70's

Do the people who went to S... (Below threshold)

Do the people who went to Studio 54 remember being at Studio 54? Moreover, do they remember the 70's?

I think many CIA cla... (Below threshold)

I think many CIA clandestine agents use their real name when they're not doing clandestine things, and no name at all when they're doing clandestine things. Clandestine things might mean taking pictures or meeting with CIA assets.

I knew a guy who was a military attache to a communist nation during the cold war. He used his real name and even threw parties where he invited all the local communists. Then he and his wife would go for a picnic and would take some pictures of some new KGB building on the way to their "picnic." That kind of clandestine activity doesn't require a made-up name. And making up a name can blow your cover because all of your non-CIA, non-U.S. contacts that got you the attache position in the first place are now wondering why the hell you chnaged your name.

Oh, and by the way, ... (Below threshold)

Oh, and by the way, there's a difference between clandestine and covert. I believe Plame was a clandestine agent, but could be wrong.

>I think many CIA clande... (Below threshold)

>I think many CIA clandestine agents use their real name when they're not doing clandestine things, and no name at all when they're doing clandestine things. Clandestine things might mean taking pictures or meeting with CIA assets.

Then Novak didn't "out" her and we can all go home. Right?

According to the liberals she was the biggest baddest meanest crimefightingest* agent ever.

Can it be both ways?

BTW I was talking computer security but OK.


(*with apologies to Arlo)

>Then Novak didn't "... (Below threshold)

>Then Novak didn't "out" her and we can all go home. Right?

Right. If she used her real name as a cover to go places to do clandestine things and then started working in Langley her cover was already blown (which it was when the Russians found out).

And please don't call me a liberal.

You do not know which name ... (Below threshold)
No Such Agency:

You do not know which name Plame used undercover. Novak just mentioned her maiden name, he did not say that this was the name she used undercover.

You don't know whether she was undercover. Wilson never said so (of course). He just said that on the day she was outed she wasn't undercover. Obviously, because she was "burnt" by the outing.

Only the CIA can decide whether and when a person is undercover.

Those are the facts. Whether Novak said "Wilsons' wife or Valerie Plame is irrelevant, but interesting. Why?

It has been said that the "neighbors knew" that she worked at the CIA. Please provide the accounts of three neighbors who can affirm they knew BEFORE the outing. Even if so, every CIA operative has a few people he/she trusts. Husbands, parents and close friends may know that you are CIA (no specifics of course). This doesn't mean she was not under cover.

Why would Novak mention Plame's maiden name? Because he looked it up in the Who is Who? Pointless. Only makes sense if he was told that she used "Valerie Plame" as her under cover name. Did she really? And who told Novak that she did?

I believe Plame was a cl... (Below threshold)

I believe Plame was a clandestine agent

No more clandestine than anyone here.

I knew a guy...... (Below threshold)

I knew a guy...

or you are that guy who threw these killer parties? Fess up jc!

You wouldn't have been able... (Below threshold)

You wouldn't have been able to Google her name, or look it up in Who's Who, until she came home from abroad in 1997.

It was at this point that her, and her fiance Wilson, decided that there was no longer a reason to keep her maiden name hidden.

Why is that? Perhaps because it was no longer important for whatever position she had at the CIA. Meaning, her cover, under that name, had already been blown by the Russians and Cubans previous to 1997, thus making that name completely useless for any kind of cover.

Sure, no one knew she was undercover.
Well, except the Russians and the Cubans.
And whoever they felt like telling.
Ya know. Just saying.

(And I'm pretty sure they are smart enough to be able to use Google and figure out that Valerie Plame was now married to Wilson, and that she thus went by the new name, Valerie Wilson)


Actually, while under cover... (Below threshold)
Lew Clark:

Actually, while under cover she used a number of different names. Her favorites were Karl Rove and Robert Novak. That's why the story gets so confusing.

Hmmmm."That's a li... (Below threshold)


"That's a little like Joe Smith logging into a secure website with a username of "Joe" and a password of "Smith.""

Oh Crap.

I've got to change my username and password now ...

The lesson to be learned fr... (Below threshold)

The lesson to be learned from the Plame case is, don't believe anything the NYT prints. As I recall, the liberal media howled about this "crime" until the Bush administration relented and initiated an investigation.

It apears to me the real culprits are Judith Miller and the anti-Bush crowd at the CIA. When all is said and done, Plame will be the one who fed info to Judy Miller for all Miller's pre-war stories on WMD. That is who Miller is covering for.

Does anyone know whe... (Below threshold)

Does anyone know where Steven King is?

>Then Novak didn't "out"... (Below threshold)

>Then Novak didn't "out" her and we can all go home. Right?

Right. If she used her real name as a cover to go places to do clandestine things and then started working in Langley her cover was already blown (which it was when the Russians found out).


No Such Agency:Not... (Below threshold)

No Such Agency:

Not only 'three neighbors' (and who is going to "provide [their] names" on a public forum, or anywhere, for that matter, unless they themselves do), but almost certainly gardeners, newsstand employees, street sweepers, bus and taxi drivers, car mechanics, gas station employees, everyone coming and going every business day on the street in, at, near and approaching the CIA location/s in D.C. where Plame worked, Xerox repair people, delivery people in general, guys in helicopters overhead giving traffic/weather conditions to the entire region, tourists, picnic persons in the parks, tree trimmers, utility company employees...

D.C. is a big city and everyone comes and goes to and from their work amidst a lot of other people doing likewise, if not the many tourists and other non-identified and already identified foreign intelligence scouring the place. It's not as if Valerie Plame flew invisibly into the building where she worked and then disappeared into vapor at five p.m. every Monday through Friday.

And that many people who knew her personally (where she lived, who she was married to, where she shopped, who cleaned her house, who mowed her lawn, delivered her media and mail, serviced her car, engaged her banking, and far more), it's not as if any of those people did not recognize her coming and going to her job...AT THE CIA.

She was not covert in behavior nor appearance as to where she worked, is the point, and living nearby to her employment over the years would be impossible to maintain as "covert" under those circumstances, unless she never associated by any means with the CIA (never appeared in the Agency's infrastructure, never received funds from them, never interacted with any other employee of the Agency, didn't drive back and forth to the Agency for.her.daily.employment...).

All told, the only way someone can maintain some semblance or pretense of not being employed by the CIA, not affiliated with them, would be to have no contact, interactions of any kind, with them...unless perhaps incarcerated and being paid visits affiliates in Intellgence, or even...working there under a valid identity and appearance that was not recognizable to anyone else outside a few contacts.

But, having an entire neighborhood and general city aware by just looking, asking, interacting with someone who was visibly going to and from a job at the CIA, having someone just like that, Plame (or anyone else), try to allege that surprise, surprise, no one knew she was employed by the CIA until someone wrote a news column about it, or...someone...in the WHITEHouse...

It's ridiculous.

The whole issue is as to her speculated "covert" agent classification and within what time frame she was such if such. By simply saying "Joe Wilson's wife worked at the Agency" or similar does nothing to no one about anything, particularly when it's already been previously printed in a national/international news source by Corn as INFORMED BY JOE WILSON that his wife worked at the CIA/Agency.

Yes, we'll all ever only know what we're told, moreorless, but it's also possible to see through what we're told sometimes and apply a certain behavioral standard to other humans. Most people can tell B.S. when they see/hear it, is my point.

And, I really do believe that thinking that truth isn't knowable with any certainty in this and other issues, underestimates human capacity. I've seen/read a lot about current technology studies about bullet paths, for instance, that pretty well proves that JFK was shot by someone (not lone, but certainly someone) from beneath street level, through a sewercover on the street. It's plausible, far moreso than other theories, at least.

And, about that (JFK), if we all live long enough, we'll be able to see what the Kennedy family has restricted by, whatisit, 2050 or something.

I agree with opine6.<... (Below threshold)

I agree with opine6.

I've long said that Miller would not be going to jail to protect, of all people, Karl Rove.

I've always been of the opinion that Miller/Plame were organized to a great degree and that probably Miller was Cooper's gossip coordinate. Cooper already knew the answer to his question by the time he called Rove.

'You wouldn't have been abl... (Below threshold)

'You wouldn't have been able to Google her name, or look it up in Who's Who, until she came home from abroad in 1997.'

Notice the five year law she attacked from expired in 2002.

[<a href="http://wizbangblo... (Below threshold)

[Conclusion] – the Plame Affair was primarily an attempt by the corrupt rogue CIA faction, in collusion with corrupt French officials, to maintain their vested interests in the uranium- and nuclear technology- transfers to terrorists by hiding the trail, and secondarily, a failed attempt to set up Pres. Bush in a Watergate II, in collusion with the DNC and MSM, as they did in 1972.

Liberals' Titanic Crash:

Wizbang Plame threads #8, #9, #10, and #23.

Traitorgates damage to t... (Below threshold)
Ian Walker:

Traitorgates damage to the CIA

Hi all

I think it is time to point our some of the dire effects that the traitors actions have had on the CIA and why they are the actions of a traitor and why this should be called traitorgate.

Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame), was among the deepest cover agent’s the CIA has
For the record, Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame), was among the deepest cover agent’s the CIA has. She worked as a so called “nonofficial cover” agent, a select group of operatives who know that if they are caught, the U.S. government will disavow any connection with them. See the link below

Esentialy for the TV brains out there Valerie Wilson (nee Plame) role in the CIA, is similar to Jennifer Garner's character"Sydney Bristow" in the Emmy nominated Alias series.

Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) life in jeapordy
Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) life and that of her family is now permanently in jeapordy from any one of the people who she ran a covert operation against; as now they will know who it was that ran an action against them and they will be looking for payback.

Millions of dollars in training lost
Millions of dollars are spent to train and support this select group of “nonofficial cover” agents. All those millions are now lost and irecoverable.

What other CIA operatives were affected?
There is then of course the question of how many other covert operatives and assets in the field have also been compromised as a result of the traitors act.

Cover company blown in the Novak article
The company Brewster Jennings & Associates that was used by the CIA as a cover for multiple operatives was compromised directly as a result of the leak by Novak and others in The White House. See the link below

All agents who worked for the Cover company identities are blown by the Novak article
All those agents who used that company as cover have now had their cover blown. There will be obvious ripple effects similar to Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) cover being blown for each of those agents as well.

All covert CIA contacts and assets of Valerie Wilson (nee Plame)and the agents with her at the cover company cover blown
All of Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) contacts held in security files round the world are now at risk of arrest, imprisonment and torture. Ditto all the agents who worked at the cover company will have had any of their contacts assets or agents identities blown.

CIA’s ability to recruit foreign agents destroyed for the period of this administration
Further the CIA’s ability to recruit foreign agents has been severely damaged because potential recruits fear coming in contact with Americans and do not trust this administration to protect their identity.

WMD inteligence blinded when we need it most
The key thing we have to remember about this is that the traitors have esentialy blinded the CIA to inteligence on WMD at a time when with Iran and North Korea and Al Qaida are a giant risk because the traitors have named the covert head of inteligence on WMD for nothing more than petty party political advantage.

Osama Bin Laden himself could not have asked for better recruits than these traitors in the White House and Republican press
For those of you who noticed a whole bunch of arrests in Pakistan and action across the middle east on Nuclear issues after the traitors blew Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame)cover. Those were clean up activities for an after cover blown operation; trying to capture the people discoverd as a result of Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) work, along with the other agents who's cover was blown as the evidence gathered was during her period as the covert head of WMD inteligence. For an Idea of what Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) work meant follow this link

WMD terrorists and dealers escaped, valuable Intel lost
God alone knows how many WMD terrorists and dealers escaped and how much intel was lost as a result of the traitors blowing Valerie Wilson’s (nee Plame) identity I imagine the shredders were working as hard in the nuclear terrrorists hideouts as they are in White House traitors lair.

Sadly Walker

Hey, Ian - great satire! I... (Below threshold)

Hey, Ian - great satire! I'd love to see you do one on the false Niger docs the CIA-cabal forged, then gave to "French" agent Giacomo aka Rocco Martino, to hide the WMD trail and their collusion with the French on uranium transfers out of Africa via Cogema, when they should have been doing their jobs and tracking it instead. Oh, and don't forget the part about passing on the super-duper-deep-deep-top secret-confidential-info-about-Plame to conservative news agencies like Talon and (mole) Gannon, to entrap and discredit Bush and Blair.

Hi BRI do not get ... (Below threshold)
Ian Walker:


I do not get the point you are making. I am sure there is a point and that you are not just gassing.

We are discussing the actions of traitors here and the lessons to drawn from it.

I am sure you are not some commie liberal who supports the actions of traitors.

Can you perhaps expand on your point so that I and possibly others might be able to understand what you are saying.

Kind Regards Ian

AD and I have already said ... (Below threshold)

AD and I have already said it in these wizbang threads:

#8, #9, #10, and #23, see especially "CONCLUSION" and the earlier ones starting around 7/2/05, like this in a July 5, 2005 thread.

Hi BRI do not see ... (Below threshold)
Ian Walker:


I do not see how any of your links have got anything to do with how we learn the lessons of dealing with traitors.

I presume you do not support the actions of tritors.

People are either for the defense of the nation or against it.

Obviuosly any traitors need at least to go to prison and any one as in this case who deliberately blows the cover of agents and their cover compqany are traitors.

I personaly so no reason why the traitors who did this should not go to the chair. Although I am sure some namby pamby liberals will say otherwise.

Regards Ian






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy