Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I ask again...

What Valerie Plame Really Did at the CIA
In the spring of 2002 Dick Cheney made one of his periodic trips to CIA headquarters. Officers and analysts were summoned to brief him on Iraq. Paramilitary specialists updated the Vice President on an extensive covert action program in motion that was designed to pave the way to a US invasion. Cheney questioned analysts about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. How could they be used against US troops? Which Iraqi units had chemical and biological weapons? He was not seeking information on whether Saddam posed a threat because he possessed such weapons. His queries, according to a CIA officer at the briefing, were pegged to the assumptions that Iraq had these weapons and would be invaded--as if a decision had been made.

Though Cheney was already looking toward war, the officers of the agency's Joint Task Force on Iraq--part of the Counterproliferation Division of the agency's clandestine Directorate of Operations--were frantically toiling away in the basement, mounting espionage operations to gather information on the WMD programs Iraq might have. The JTFI was trying to find evidence that would back up the White House's assertion that Iraq was a WMD danger. Its chief of operations was a career undercover officer named Valerie Wilson.

Your humble scribe, five months ago:
What if it wasn't an accident? What if they outed her not (or not just) to get at her husband, but to get at her?

Think about the demonstrated disdain of Bush and Cheney for any and all intel that contradicted their preordained conclusions about Iraq. Then think about the neocon arrogance that then, as now, targeted Iran as next on their regime change to-do list.

In that context, Valerie Plame's knowledge of what was really going on in the WMD arena did not make her an asset -- it made her a very dangerous woman. When Joe Wilson went public with the truth about the way the Administration cooked the books on Iraq, the Administration must have been concerned that Valerie Plame would do the same when they turned their guns toward Iran.

What if they wanted us to think that their purpose was to smack Joe Wilson, but only as a smokescreen for their next Crusade? Maybe I'm overly impressed with Karl Rove's legendary ability to think five moves ahead, but he loves these kinds of two-birds-one-stone stunts.

Then the rumour was about Plame working on Iran's WMD aspirations. now, well past the level of a rumor, is the report that she was actually at the center of the efforts to find the facts about Iraq's WMD status. That only makes my paranoid suspicion look all the more appropriate.

If I'm right, the fact that Plame was married to Joseph Wilson was not terribly important as motive to out her, though it provided opportunity, in the warped logic that determines strategy inside Bushworld. Given what she was doing, and her ability to undermine the predicate for the invasion of Iraq, she could have been married to Brian Wilson and they still would have found a way to eliminate the threat she posed.


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