“Betrayed by the White House”

I don’t usually watch Rita Cosby, but I happened to catch this last night:

COSBY: And joining me now is Jim Marcinkowsky, who trained with Valerie Plame, and also Melissa Boyle Mahle. She‘s a former CIA spy, and she‘s the author of a book called “Denial and Deception: An Insider‘s View of the CIA From Iran-Contra to 9/11.”

Jim, let me start with you. How betrayed do you feel, as a former agent, about this leak?

JIM MARCINKOWSKY, FORMER CIA AGENT WHO TRAINED WITH PLAME: We‘re outraged. Betrayal—I mean, that‘s the—that‘s the lowest description I can put on it. We held this secret for 18 years until betrayed by the White House, whether we were inside the agency or outside the agency. It‘s is simply outrageous.

COSBY: You know, Melissa, do you find it sort of ironic that here you go—I know when you go for your job and your training, you‘re told, Keep these things covert. You don‘t expect the government to be the one doing the outing.

MELISSA BOYLE MAHLE, FORMER CIA SPY: No, you certainly don‘t because you know your cover is what allows to you do your job. And so since the government presumably wants you to do your job, that they‘ll also protect it.

COSBY: You know, Jim, let‘s talk about this company, I found this fascinating, a company called Brewster Jennings and Associates. It‘s been outed now by others, so we can talk about it. But explain (INAUDIBLE) sort of it was sort of a mock company under a cover.

MARCINKOWSKY: Well, that‘s exactly right. There‘s commercial covers. You‘re not protected overseas by governmental immunity, diplomatic immunity. And if you get caught under one of those kinds of covers, non-official cover, you‘re going to suffer the consequences of any other body that may be operating and conducting the espionage in a foreign country.

COSBY: But Jim, with this Brewster-Jennings, it was a business card. It was sort of a pseudo-company that folks who worked for the CIA could pretend that they worked for this company, right?

MARCINKOWSKY: Correct. And it doesn‘t matter whether it‘s just a telephone or a business card. The fact of the matter was, it was sufficient to get in and out of a country safely, and that‘s all that matters in the eyes of an agent.

COSBY: You know, and how detrimental, Melissa, when something like a Brewster Jennings is let out? Because I would imagine a lot of agents use that as their cover.

MAHLE: Well, I tell you, when you start exposing how—what kinds of covers that the CIA uses in whether business or whatever, you start setting a trail that bad guys can follow and say, Hey, let‘s look at these kind of companies and see what—you know, Maybe we can find some more agents.

COSBY: Well, that‘s what I was going to say. There‘s a huge rippling effect, right, Melissa?

MAHLE: Yes, and I think that‘s one of the things that really concerns the CIA because we need to protect our agents and our officers if we‘re going to be able to achieve our mission.

COSBY: You know, Melissa, you worked as a female spy in the Middle East. What was that like? And how dangerous was it?

MAHLE: Listen, I was a counterterrorism officer. I worked in the Middle East. My cover was extremely important to me because I depended on it for hiding my identity so I could protect myself, my family and my agents.

COSBY: And we‘re, in fact, looking at one of the pictures here. This is of you a couple of—how many years ago was this, Melissa, as we‘re looking at…


COSBY: … because you‘re holding a big gun.

MAHLE: More than a few!


COSBY: You look like you know how to use that weapon. I‘m a little scared of you now. And here you are with Arafat. I remember reading one of the stories that you actually brought your baby to Arafat because you couldn‘t find a nanny, right?

MAHLE: Well, yes, that was one of those times. You know, everybody has child care issues.

COSBY: Yes, I think that‘s a great story.

Hey, Jim, how has—how has this affected Valerie Plame‘s career, this whole ordeal?

MARCINKOWSKY: Well, her career is essentially over. If you have a career as an undercover officer, you‘re traveling from one country to the other, obviously, the one time you‘re exposed, you can‘t take that back. The toothpaste is out of the tube. You can‘t put it back in. Her career is ended.

COSBY: And Melissa, real quick, how‘s this affected her career, in your opinion?

MAHLE: Well, I agree with Jim that her career is over, and that means that we have lost a very important officer that has experience in weapons of mass destruction.

COSBY: Both of you, thank you very much for talking about this important issue. We appreciate it.

MAHLE: Thank you.

MARCINKOWSKY: You‘re welcome..

4 thoughts on ““Betrayed by the White House”

  1. Pingback: The Mahablog » What’d I Say?

  2. Pingback: The Mahablog » Let’s See How the Righties Bury This One

  3. February 13, 2006 Let’s See How the Righties Bury This One
    Filed under: Valerie Plame, Weapons of Mass Destruction, National Security — maha @ 4:40 pm Dafna Linzer reported in the Washington Post (October 29, 2005): More than Valerie Plame’s identity was exposed when her name appeared in a syndicated column in the summer of 2003. A small Boston company listed as her employer suddenly was shown to be a bogus CIA front.
    I am sure in the six degrees of separation parlance, this does not bode well for our 2004 Presidential candidate John Kerry and what ties he may have in the Boston community to this exposed front. Michael Isakoff oughta look under the hood on this one and find out what has happened with this front henceforth. It may very well serve as proof of both damage, contrary to Woodward, and true classified status of Mrs. Plame Wilson.
    Frank from Miami contributed to this report.

    Comment by frank — February 13, 2006 @ 8:41 pm

  4. Pingback: The Mahablog » Interesting Times

Comments are closed.