Valerie Plame
American spy
Valerie Plame
Valerie Elise Plame Wilson, known as Valerie Plame, Valerie E. Wilson, and Valerie Plame Wilson, is a former United States CIA Operations Officer and the author of a memoir detailing her career and the events leading up to her resignation from the CIA.
Valerie Plame's personal information overview.
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Seeking a Context for "Hillarygate"
Huffington Post - 4 months
In a season of disturbingly ill-informed political dialogue, no topic has left the public with a more distorted understanding of the facts than the one which has taken center stage in the final days of the campaign: the handling of sensitive information by Secretary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State. There are five basic questions that need to be addressed to place Secretary Clinton's mistakes in context and determine how to weigh those mistakes in the larger decision of who to support for president. 1. When the word classified material is used, what are we talking about? 2. What are the procedures for those who must deal with classified information to communicate with one another about its meaning for the policies they are responsible for shaping? 3. How often do officials violate the best practices for handling classified material? 4. How significant were the Clinton violations? 5. How has the government responded to significant mistakes in the handling o ...
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Huffington Post article
What's It Like To Try And Be Normal After A Career As A Spy
Huffington Post - 5 months
I love this little story by David Foster Wallace because it so perfectly captures my feelings and experiences after being outed as a CIA covert operations officer by the Bush administration in 2003: There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?” Exactly. When you’re in the middle of something, you don’t necessarily understand the context of it until you leave. Jump the fishbowl, as it were. I didn’t appreciate how special and sometimes strange my CIA world was, until it suddenly and spectacularly ended in a newspaper column. The most obvious example is that I no longer needed to prevaricate or misdirect anyone who asked me what I did for a living. I didn’t have to remember a cover story or a cover company that I ostensibly w ...
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Huffington Post article
Bro Jobs
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Organized religion (The Crusades), street gangs, fraternity hazing rituals, and aggressive jocks who push weaker kids into their school lockers may be responsible for a horrendous amount of violence and bullying. But when one examines the root causes of their behavior, certain personality traits are easily identified. A narcissistic personality disorder. Fear of rejection. An alpha male's need to dominate perceived competitors and/or have the last word in any argument. Fear of sexual inadequacy. Refusing to take responsibility for the consequences of one's actions. Parents who always made excuses for their child's bad behavior. A gross assumption of privilege due to one's race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, or family wealth. All one has to do is look at certain despicable humans who were presumably normal at birth but subsequently morphed into maladjusted monsters. Jeffrey Dahmer grew up to be a sex offender, serial killer, necrophiliac, and c ...
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Huffington Post article
Valerie Plame & Joe Wilson: America needs Hillary
USA Today - almost 2 years
Clinton is the most qualified and trustworthy person for America's future.           
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USA Today article
Westminster Town Hall Forum: Valerie Plame Wilson on security, surveillance and privacy
NPR - about 3 years
Former CIA covert operations officer Valerie Plame Wilson speaking October 15, 2013 at the Westminster Town Hall Forum in downtown Minneapolis about "Security, Surveillance, and Privacy."
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NPR article
Once <i>Fair Game</i> Plame Delivers <i>Blowback</i>
Huffington Post - over 3 years
She never wanted to be famous. In fact, her life was to be one in shadows, a double life of secrets and yes, intrigue. The stuff of spy novels. So it makes sense that she's written one of her own entitled Blowback. After all, what's an outed spy to do? Valerie Plame Wilson came in to sights of the American people when the Bush administration (in what many think was an act of treason) outed her as a spy at a time of war to get back at and discredit her husband. Her husband was, and is, Joe Wilson, who in 2003 had the nerve to say that Hussein didn't have a nuclear program and that the Bush administration was twisting the information. "Curiously when Joe, my husband, wrote that editorial about how the Bush administration had twisted the intelligence in July of 2003 to gather American public support for the eventual invasion and conquest of Iraq the majority of Americans at that time believed that there were WMDs and the war was justified," she stated. "Now, those numbers 10 years ...
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Huffington Post article
Westminster Forum: Valerie Plame Wilson on security, surveillance and privacy
NPR - over 3 years
Nationally recognized expert on national security and counter-proliferation. A former covert operations officer in the CIA, Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as a CIA operative was revealed in a nationally syndicated column, resulting in her resignation from the CIA. She is the author of the memoir, "Fair Game" and the first in a series of spy novels, "Blowback." She speaks at the Westminster Town Hall Forum in Minneapolis on October 15, 2013.
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NPR article
Valerie Plame: “Homeland” is “really compelling TV” - over 3 years
Valerie Plame's first book, a memoir, was heavily redacted by the CIA for fear that she'd expose the U.S. to harm by revealing her experience as a CIA agent. Of course, she'd already been exposed in the first place, in one of the central scandals of the Bush administration, when her identity was compromised after her husband revealed that he did not believe George W. Bush's claims about Iraq seeking African uranium. In the intervening years, her memoir "Fair Game" was adapted into a film and Plame, with her husband, has moved to New Mexico; she has just released her second book, a thriller called "Blowback," written with Sarah Lovett. The book takes as its plot the adventures of CIA officer Vanessa Pierson, whose asset has been killed before delivering valuable information about an arms dealer. The book, vetted by the CIA, is intended to be both propulsive and accurate, a sideline to the sort of outspoken critique Plame has delivered since her departure from the agency. In a convers ...
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Valerie Plame on NSA surveillance: "Potential for misuse is enormous"
CBS News - over 3 years
Former CIA operative warns NSA surveillance program should not just worry terrorists, but all of us
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CBS News article
I, Spy: Valerie Plame Makes Her Fiction Debut In CIA Thriller
NPR - over 3 years
In Blowback, Plame channels her expertise in nuclear counterproliferation into a "realistic portrait" of a female covert agent. Plame confesses that there's a lot of downtime in the life of a spy, but still, the CIA is "the world's biggest dating agency." » E-Mail This     » Add to
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NPR article
Valerie Plame Is the Master of Her Own Universe
NYTimes - over 3 years
The former C.I.A. officer created a “younger, smarter” version of herself in the spy novel “Blowback.”
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NYTimes article
Book News: North Carolina County Bans 'Invisible Man'
NPR - over 3 years
Also: Valerie Plame has reportedly written a spy novel called Blowback; Russian literature as sex education; a poem by Dorothy Wordsworth. » E-Mail This     » Add to
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NPR article
A spy’s biggest secret is her loneliness Financial Times Blogs - over 3 years
After reading Valerie Plame’s novel I wondered why any rational woman (or man) would want to work for the CIA
Article Link: Financial Times Blogs article
Gregory Weinkauf: The Incredible Lou Ferrigno Brings The Liberator to Comic-Con -- and to the Free World
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Who else but Lou Ferrigno could stir up a project like The Liberator -- a perfect storm of awesomeness. A multi-media franchise with potential to burn, The Liberator focuses on Mr. Ferrigno as Ed Migliocetti -- a.k.a. "The Liberator," a scientifically-enhanced superhero who, after many triumphant missions, has been scapegoated and discarded, and seeks to reclaim both his own honor and the trust and transparency of the free world. A high-profile whistle-blower not unlike Edward Snowden (albeit significantly larger), the character of the Liberator is first and foremost a complex man of strong feelings, yet in the public eye he's become a traitor, the disgraced former leader of a government-backed superhero team who served outwardly as goodwill ambassadors -- and covertly as black-ops agents -- until a mission went bad and he took the fall. Now he's back with an axe to grind and a world to save. Sure, growly Christian Bale tried to play the kinda-sorta senior "Dark Knight" ...
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Huffington Post article
Jonathan Weiler: Why Is Congressman Peter King Lying About Glenn Greenwald?
Huffington Post - over 3 years
As has been widely reported, earlier this week New York Republican Congressman Peter King called for the prosecution of Glenn Greenwald, in response to Greenwald's role in bringing to light the sensational charges by former NSA employee Edward Snowden about pervasive government surveillance programs. King insisted on Fox News that the NSA disclosures harm our national security (a claim that numerous national security officials and experts dispute and that appears to have little merit). But King also claimed that Greenwald was threatening to disclose the names of "CIA agents and assets around the world," warning ominously that "the last time that was done in this country, you saw a CIA station chief murdered in Greece." King's claim about what Greenwald has threatened to do is, of course, a complete falsehood. There is no record anywhere of Greenwald having made such a threat (nor is there of Snowden). And Greenwald himself has been adamant that he never would disclose such ...
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Huffington Post article
Journalist Dismisses GOP Rep's Claim, Jabs At Former Cheney Adviser
Huffington Post - over 3 years
The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald denounced Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) again on Wednesday, dismissing his claim that the journalist should be prosecuted over his involvement in the NSA's surveillance program going public. Appearing on "All In With Chris Hayes," Greenwald accused King of creating an "outright fabrication," invoking a memorable name from the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney era in the process. "What I thought was most remarkable was that the entire framework that he offered, the ground on which he made his call for my arrest and prosecution was an outright fabrication," Greenwald said. "Really, a lie. He went on national television and accused me of having threatened to uncover and expose and publish the identities of covert CIA agents, as though I was Lewis Libby or something." Back in February, the Associated Press noted how Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) restored Lewis "Scooter" Libby's voting rights six years after he was convicted on criminal charg ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Valerie Plame
  • 2011
    Age 47
    In a 2011 interview, Plame said she and Wilson had received threats while living in the D.C. metro area, and while she acknowledged an element of threat remains in their new home, the New Mexico location "tamps down the whole swirl."
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  • 2007
    Age 43
    On October 31, 2007, in her interview with Charlie Rose broadcast on The Charlie Rose Show, Valerie Wilson discussed many aspects relating to her memoir: the CIA leak grand jury investigation; United States v. Libby, the civil suit which she and her husband were at the time still pursuing against Libby, Cheney, Rove, and Armitage; and other matters presented in her memoir relating to her covert work with the CIA.
    More Details Hide Details The film, Fair Game, was released November 5, 2010, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. It is based on two books, one written by Plame, and the other by her husband. In a review by the Washington Post editorial board this movie was discredited as being full of distortions and outright fabrications. In May 2011, it was announced that Plame would author a series of spy novels with mystery writer Sarah Lovett. The first book in the series, titled Blowback, was released on October 1, 2013, by Blue Rider Press, an imprint of the Penguin Group.
    Michael McConnell, Director of National Intelligence, and Michael V. Hayden, Director of the CIA, arguing that the CIA "is unconstitutionally interfering with the publication of her memoir, Fair Game,... set to be published in October 2007, by not allowing Plame to mention the dates that she served in the CIA."
    More Details Hide Details Judge Barbara S. Jones, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, in Manhattan, interpreted the issue in favor of the CIA. Therefore, the ruling stated that Plame would not be able to describe in her memoir the precise dates she had worked for the CIA. In 2009, the federal court of appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed Judge Jones's ruling.
    On July 2, 2007, President George W. Bush commuted Libby's sentence, removing the jail term but leaving in place the fine and probation, calling the sentence "excessive."
    More Details Hide Details In a subsequent press conference, on July 12, 2007, Bush noted, " the Scooter Libby decision was, I thought, a fair and balanced decision." The Wilsons responded to the commutation in statements posted by their legal counsel, Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and on their own legal support website.
    On March 16, 2007, at these hearings about the disclosure, Waxman read a statement about Plame's CIA career that had been cleared by CIA director Gen. Michael V. Hayden and the CIA, stating that she was undercover and that her employment status with the CIA was classified information prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958.
    More Details Hide Details Subsequent reports in various news accounts focused on the following parts of her testimony: Plame's husband Joseph Wilson announced on March 6, 2007, that the couple had "signed a deal with Warner Bros of Hollywood to offer their consulting services — or maybe more — in the making of the forthcoming movie about the Libby trial," their lives and the CIA leak scandal. The feature film, a co-production between Weed Road's Akiva Goldsman and Jerry and Janet Zucker of Zucker Productions with a screenplay by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth to be based in part on Valerie Wilson's memoir Fair Game (contingent on CIA clearances) originally scheduled for release in August 2007, but ultimately published on October 22, 2007. In May 2006, the New York Times reported that Valerie Wilson agreed to a $2.5-million book deal with Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House. Steve Ross, senior vice president and publisher of Crown, told the Times that the book would be her "first airing of her actual role in the American intelligence community, as well as the prominence of her role in the lead-up to the war." Subsequently, the New York Times reported that the book deal fell through and that Plame was in exclusive negotiations with Simon & Schuster. Ultimately, Simon and Schuster publicly confirmed the book deal, though not the financial terms and, at first, no set publication date.
  • 2006
    Age 42
    On July 13, 2006, Joseph and Valerie Wilson filed a civil lawsuit against Rove, Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney, and other unnamed senior White House officials (to whom they later added Richard Armitage) for their alleged role in the public disclosure of Valerie Wilson's classified CIA status.
    More Details Hide Details Judge John D. Bates dismissed the Wilsons' lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds on July 19, 2007; the Wilsons appealed. On August 12, 2008, in a 2-1 decision, the three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the dismissal. Melanie Sloan, of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which represents the Wilsons, "said the group will request the full D.C. Circuit to review the case and appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court." Agreeing with the Bush administration, the Obama Justice Department argues the Wilsons have no legitimate grounds to sue. On the current justice department position, Sloan stated: "We are deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has failed to recognize the grievous harm top Bush White House officials inflicted on Joe and Valerie Wilson. The government's position cannot be reconciled with President Obama's oft-stated commitment to once again make government officials accountable for their actions."
    After she resigned from the CIA following the disclosure of her covert status, in January 2006, they moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where she serves as a consultant to the Santa Fe Institute, a scientific nonprofit research institute for multidisciplinary collaborations.
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  • 2003
    Age 39
    Legal documents published in the course of the CIA leak grand jury investigation, United States v. Libby, and Congressional investigations, established her classified employment as a covert officer for the CIA at the time when Novak's column was published in July 2003.
    More Details Hide Details In his press conference of October 28, 2005, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald explained in considerable detail the necessity of secrecy about his grand jury investigation that began in the fall of 2003 - "when it was clear that Valerie Wilson's cover had been blown" - and the background and consequences of the indictment of then high-ranking Bush Administration official Scooter Libby as it pertains to Valerie E. Wilson. Fitzgerald's subsequent replies to reporters' questions shed further light on the parameters of the leak investigation and what, as its lead prosecutor, bound by the rules of grand jury secrecy, he could and could not reveal legally at the time. Official court documents released later, on April 5, 2006, reveal that Libby testified that "he was specifically authorized in advance" of his meeting with Judith Miller, reporter for The New York Times, to disclose the "key judgments" of the October 2002 classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). According to Libby's testimony, "the Vice President later advised him that the President had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE Judith Miller." According to his testimony, the information that Libby was authorized to disclose to Miller "was intended to rebut the allegations of an administration critic, former ambassador Joseph Wilson." A couple of days after Libby's meeting with Miller, then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice told reporters, "We don't want to try to get into kind of selective declassification" of the NIE, adding, "We're looking at what can be made available."
    As the subject of the 2003 Plame affair, also known as the CIA leak scandal, Plame had her identity as covert officer of the CIA leaked to the press by members of the George W. Bush administration and subsequently made public.
    More Details Hide Details Plame has written a memoir detailing her career and the events leading up to her resignation from the CIA. Valerie Elise Plame was born on August 13, 1963, on Elmendorf Air Force Base, in Anchorage, Alaska, to Diane (née McClintock) and Samuel Plame III. Plame's paternal grandfather was Jewish, the son of a rabbi who emigrated from Ukraine; the original family surname was "Plamevotski". The rest of Plame's family was Protestant (the religion Plame was raised in); she was unaware of her grandfather's ancestry until she was an adult. She was reared in "a military family... imbued her with a sense of public duty"; her father was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force, who worked for the National Security Agency for three years, and, according to her close friend Janet Angstadt, her parents "are the type who are still volunteering for the Red Cross and Meals on Wheels in the Philadelphia suburb where they live," having moved to that area while Plame was still in school.
  • 2002
    Age 38
    However, the CIA was concerned enough to send Plame's husband, Joseph C. Wilson, to Niger in 2002 to investigate the potential sale of nuclear materials from Niger to Iraq.
    More Details Hide Details On July 14, 2003, Robert Novak, journalist for The Washington Post, using information obtained from Richard Armitage at the United States Department of State, effectively ended Valerie Plame's career with the CIA (from which she later resigned in December 2005) by revealing in his column her identity as a CIA operative.
  • 1998
    Age 34
    She married Wilson in 1998 and gave birth to their twins in 2000, and resumed travel overseas in 2001, 2002, and 2003 as part of her cover job.
    More Details Hide Details She met with workers in the nuclear industry, cultivated sources, and managed spies. One project in which she was involved was ensuring that Iran did not acquire nuclear weapons. During this time, part of her work concerned the determination of the use of aluminum tubes purchased by Iraq. CIA analysts prior to the Iraq invasion were quoted by the White House as believing that Iraq was trying to acquire nuclear weapons and that these aluminum tubes could be used in a centrifuge for nuclear enrichment. David Corn and Michael Isikoff argued that the undercover work being done by Plame and her CIA colleagues in the Directorate of Central Intelligence Nonproliferation Center strongly contradicted such a claim.
    They were married on April 3, 1998, Plame's second marriage and Wilson's third.
    More Details Hide Details Professionally and socially, she has used variants of her name. Professionally, while a covert CIA officer, she used her given first name and her maiden surname, "Valerie Plame." Since leaving the CIA, as a speaker, she has used the name "Valerie Plame Wilson", and she is referred to by that name in the civil suit that the Wilsons brought against former and current government officials, Wilson v. Libby. Socially, and in public records of her political contributions, since her marriage in 1998, she has used the name "Valerie E. Wilson." At the time that they met, Wilson relates in his memoir, he was separated from his second wife Jacqueline, a former French diplomat; they divorced after 12 years of marriage so that he could marry Plame. His divorce had been "delayed because I was never in one place long enough to complete the process," though he and she had already been living separate lives since the mid-1990s. Plame and Wilson are the parents of twins, Trevor Rolph, and Samantha Finnell Diana, born in January 2000.
  • 1997
    Age 33
    Beginning in 1997, Plame's primary assignment was shifted to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
    More Details Hide Details The CIA confirmed her status as a NOC or "deep cover officer" and remarked that she was talented and highly intelligent, but decried the fact that her career featured largely US-based Headquarters service, typical of most CIA officers.
  • 1991
    Age 27
    After the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the CIA sent her first to the London School of Economics and then the College of Europe, in Bruges, for Master's degrees.
    More Details Hide Details After earning the second degree, she stayed on in Brussels, where she began her next assignment under cover as an "energy consultant" for Brewster-Jennings.
    A former senior diplomat in Athens remembered Plame in her dual role and also recalled that she served as one of the "control officers" coordinating the visit of President George H. W. Bush to Greece and Turkey in July 1991.
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  • 1985
    Age 21
    Although the CIA will not publicly release the specific dates of Plame's employment from 1985 to 2002 due to security concerns, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald affirmed that Plame "was a CIA officer from January 1, 2002, forward" and that "her association with the CIA was classified at that time through July 2003.
    More Details Hide Details Due to the nature of her clandestine work for the CIA, many details about Plame's professional career are still classified, but it is documented that she worked for the CIA in a clandestine capacity relating to counter-proliferation. Plame served the CIA at times as a non-official cover (or NOC), operating undercover in (at least) two positions in Athens and Brussels. While using her own name, "Valerie Plame", her assignments required posing in various professional roles in order to gather intelligence more effectively. Two of her covers include serving as a junior consular officer in the early 1990s in Athens and then later an energy analyst for the private company (founded in 1994) "Brewster Jennings & Associates," which the CIA later acknowledged was a front company for certain investigations.
    After graduating from college, moving to Washington, D.C., and marrying Sesler, Plame worked at a clothing store while awaiting results of her application to the CIA. She was accepted into the 1985–86 CIA officer training class and began her training for what would become a twenty-year career with the Agency.
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    After graduating from Penn State in 1985, Plame was briefly married to Todd Sesler, her college boyfriend.
    More Details Hide Details In 1997, while she was working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Plame met former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV, "at a reception in Washington " " at the residence of the Turkish Ambassador." According to Wilson, because Plame was unable to reveal her CIA role to him on their first date, she told him that she was an energy trader in Brussels, and he thought at that time that she was "an up-and-coming international executive." After they began dating and became "close," Plame revealed her employment with the CIA to Wilson.
  • 1981
    Age 17
    She graduated in 1981 from Lower Moreland High School, in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, and attended Pennsylvania State University, graduating with a B.A. in advertising in 1985.
    More Details Hide Details While a student at Penn State, she joined Pi Beta Phi sorority and worked for the business division of the Daily Collegian student newspaper. By 1995, Plame had earned two master's degrees, one from the London School of Economics and Political Science and one from the College of Europe (Collège d'Europe), in Bruges, Belgium. In addition to English, she speaks French, German, and Greek.
  • 1979
    Age 15
    From his first marriage (1973–86), to Susan Dale Otchis, Wilson is also the father of another set of twins (also a boy and a girl), Sabrina Cecile and Joseph Charles, who were born in 1979.
    More Details Hide Details Prior to the disclosure of her classified CIA identity, Valerie and Joe Wilson and their twins lived in The Palisades, an affluent neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on the fringe of Georgetown.
  • 1963
    Born on August 13, 1963.
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