Larisa Alexandrovna of Raw Story reports that the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson “caused significant damage to U.S. national security and its ability to counter nuclear proliferation abroad.”
According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.
Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame’s work. Their accounts suggest that Plame’s outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran’s burgeoning nuclear program.
I’d like to see this corroborated by other news sources before filing it away as “proven fact.” But we already know, even if righties won’t admit it, that the disclosure of Plame Wilson’s status as a CIA agent damaged American intelligence gathering efforts. 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, and her alma mater in Belgium discovered it was a favored haunt of an American spy. At Langley, officials in the clandestine service quickly began drawing up a list of contacts and friends, cultivated over more than a decade, to triage any immediate damage.
The CIA has not conducted a formal damage assessment, as is routinely done in cases of espionage and after any legal proceedings have been exhausted.
This is significant, because Bob Woodward claimed on Larry King Live that the CIA had done a damage assessment and found no significant damage. The Right, of course, accepted Woodward’s word as gospel and has also claimed all along that Plame Wilson’s status wasn’t really classified.
Of course, no evidence is solid enough to persuade righties that their Plame Wilson mythology is wrong. Righties will tell you that Plame Wilson’s CIA status was not classified, even though the CIA itself has been saying all along that it was. In the February 13 issue of Newsweek we read “The CIA Leak: Plame Was Still Covert“:
… special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found that Plame had indeed done “covert work overseas” on counterproliferation matters in the past five years, and the CIA “was making specific efforts to conceal” her identity, according to newly released portions of a judge’s opinion.
Did that settle anything. Of course not. The rightie Byron York of NRO, for example, questions (in some nicely overpadded prose) if the judge actually knew what he was talking about. This gives the Righties a slim reed of an excuse to hang on to their belief in Plame Wilson’s non-classified status. But they will hang on to that reed with everything they’ve got.
If we get corroboration of Alexandrovna’s, watch to see what excuse the righties dig up to ignore it.
See also “Betrayed by the White House.”