Why was Valerie Plame's name leaked?
Everyone in the great leak guessing game has been attributing this to mere spitework, but I think there may be more to it. Assuming that the leak came from the VP's office, and that is a reasonable assumption, there was more than just an attempt to embarass an former Democratic State Department official who was no fan of Bush.
It's well known that the people around Rummy and Cheney were called Team B before they became PNAC. They had fought the CIA for years with their ridiculous assessments of Soviet strength. They assumed the Russians were much stronger and more devious than they had been in the past.
Which is how the whole Office of Special Plans fiasco took place at DOD. The Team B crew took their pet theories and set up shop, despite the objections of the service chiefs and the intelligence agencies.
The problem OSD had was it wasn't getting the data it wanted from CIA and the rest of the alphabet soup. It was getting the truth. At some point there had to be people who were a road block to their dreams of Saddam, nuclear warrior, being proved. There are only a few experts of WMD spread across Energy, DIA, NSA and the CIA. NSA kept their heads down, DIA got out of the way, but CIA stood there to be subject to Team B's abuse.
There are only a few people within the Agency who knew the subject well. My impression was that Plame, while officially an NOC, was well known to the SVR and FIS as the CIA WMD person who worked in the 'Stans. They passed this info on to their CIS client states as needed. So when the debates started about Al Qaeda getting weapons, Plame was the person who kept saying not only that it wasn't happening, but it wasn't likely to happen. Also, there was zero evidence from her sources Saddam could pass such weapons if he wanted to. She'd come back from a business trip, do a brief at Langley and say "it's not happening" Cheney's people sit in occasionally and like neither her tone nor conclusions. Despite the myth, there are plenty of NPR-listening liberals at CIA.
They press and press and her answers never change. It's not happening.
So they finally decide to ignore her, and go about with their lies. She writes a report calling them off-base and goes off to raise her twins. Months later, she's now riding a desk, and doing her job, and someone asks for someone to check this yellowcake thing. She says her husband used to cover the region for the NSC. They check on him, he's got sterling references from EUCOM and is seen as military-friendly. They send him to Niger, he concludes there's nothing to the story.
More months pass. Wilson comes out, saying that the uranium story was crap. The people in the VP's office then put two and two together. Not only is Wilson messing with them, but that bitch Plame is his wife. Let's get them both.
So I think it's not only to teach other people a lesson, but some payback for her honest conclusions.
posted by Steve @ 10:33:00 AM