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A Case Of Treason
By Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson worked as a CIA intelligence analyst and State Department counter-terrorism official. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
The investigation into who in the Bush administration leaked the fact that Valerie Plame, wife of former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a CIA undercover operative, is nearing completion. Virtually lost in the recent spurt of press reporting is the fact that the compromise of Ms. Plame (and, as night follows the day her carefully cultivated network of spies) was unconscionable. Ms. Plame, a very gifted case officer, was a close colleague of mine at CIA. Her dedication and courage were clear in her willingness to assume the risks of an agent under non-official cover—meaning that if you get caught, too bad, you’re on your own; the US government never heard of you.
The supreme irony is that Plame’s network was reporting on the priority-one issue—weapons of mass destruction. Thus, it was made abundantly clear to all, including potential intelligence sources abroad, that even when priority-one intelligence targets are involved, Bush administration officials will not shrink from exposing such sources for petty political purpose. The harm to CIA and its efforts to recruit spies willing to take risks to provide intelligence information is immense.
Shortly after the invasion of Iraq, Ambassador Wilson publicly exposed an important lie, and the president as liar, when he debunked the report that Iraq was seeking uranium in the African country of Niger. Still, as Wilson himself has suggested, the primary objective of leaking his wife’s employment at CIA was not to retaliate against him personally, but rather to issue a stark warning to others privy to administration lies on the war not to speak out. Administration officials felt they needed to provide an object lesson of what truth tellers can expect in the way of swift retaliation.
All Based On A Forgery
Indictments or no, the mainstream media will continue to play down this key aspect of the story, and—equally important—prescind completely from the event that started the whole business—the forging of documents to feed the spurious report that Iraq was seeking uranium in Niger for its (non-existent) nuclear weapons program. Together with other circumstantial evidence, the neuralgic reaction of Vice President Dick Cheney to press reports that he was point man for promoting the bogus report suggests that he may also have been its founding father, so to speak. We do not rule out the possibility that he and his chief of staff Lewis Libby may have had a hand in commissioning the forgery, as a way to come up with an “intelligence report