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. Sheâ€˜s a former CIA spy, and sheâ€˜s the author of a book called â€œDenial and Deception: An Insiderâ€˜s View of the CIA From Iran-Contra to 9/11.â€
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: Weâ€˜re outraged. Betrayalâ€”I mean, thatâ€˜s theâ€”thatâ€˜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. Itâ€˜s is simply outrageous.
COSBY: You know, Melissa, do you find it sort of ironic that here you goâ€”I know when you go for your job and your training, youâ€˜re told, Keep these things covert. You donâ€˜t expect the government to be the one doing the outing.
MELISSA BOYLE MAHLE, FORMER CIA SPY: No, you certainly donâ€˜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 theyâ€˜ll also protect it.
COSBY: You know, Jim, letâ€˜s talk about this company, I found this fascinating, a company called Brewster Jennings and Associates. Itâ€˜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, thatâ€˜s exactly right. Thereâ€˜s commercial covers. Youâ€˜re not protected overseas by governmental immunity, diplomatic immunity. And if you get caught under one of those kinds of covers, non-official cover, youâ€˜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 doesnâ€˜t matter whether itâ€˜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 thatâ€˜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 howâ€”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, letâ€˜s look at these kind of companies and see whatâ€”you know, Maybe we can find some more agents.
COSBY: Well, thatâ€˜s what I was going to say. Thereâ€˜s a huge rippling effect, right, Melissa?
MAHLE: Yes, and I think thatâ€˜s one of the things that really concerns the CIA because we need to protect our agents and our officers if weâ€˜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 weâ€˜re, in fact, looking at one of the pictures here. This is of you a couple ofâ€”how many years ago was this, Melissa, as weâ€˜re looking at…
COSBY: … because youâ€˜re holding a big gun.
MAHLE: More than a few!
COSBY: You look like you know how to use that weapon. Iâ€˜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 couldnâ€˜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 thatâ€˜s a great story.
Hey, Jim, how hasâ€”how has this affected Valerie Plameâ€˜s career, this whole ordeal?
MARCINKOWSKY: Well, her career is essentially over. If you have a career as an undercover officer, youâ€˜re traveling from one country to the other, obviously, the one time youâ€˜re exposed, you canâ€˜t take that back. The toothpaste is out of the tube. You canâ€˜t put it back in. Her career is ended.
COSBY: And Melissa, real quick, howâ€˜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: Youâ€˜re welcome..