Monday, January 10, 2011

Unfair Game

A film is out dramatizing the events that made Valerie Plame a household name a few years back. Dad described the movie as very left-leaning. I haven't seen the film, but from the synopsis he and mom gave me, it would appear that he is on target.

Here's what should have been depicted in the film.

* The information that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA had nothing to do with harming her husband, Joe Wilson. It did not come from the White House. It did not even come from someone who supported the war in Iraq.

* Valerie Plame was a CIA employee. This was not top secret information. Reports that she was "outed" as a CIA agent are a distortion. She was essentially a managerial functionary. Hers was not a household name; the media frenzy brought that about. But it was no "secret" that she worked for the CIA; no law was violated when that information was revealed.

* A New York Times editorial described Plame as "a covert CIA operative." This was incorrect. The Times never retracted the statement; instead, it was taken up and repeated by other news sources ad nauseum. Way to go NYT. Way to go American media sources for once again uncritically and lazily following the NYT's errant lead.

* The Times also asserted that Plame's role at the CIA was "leaked" in "an attempt to silence Mrs. Wilson's husband, a critic of the Iraq invasion." It turns out, however, that the person who revealed to Bob Woodward over at The Washington Post that Plame was a CIA employee was Richard Armitage -- and Armitage was the Deputy Secretary of State and an opponent of the Iraq war. Armitage was also Bob Novak's source.

* The information was also available from official State Department calendars, provided to The Associated Press under The Freedom of Information Act.

* When Patrick Fitzgerald began his grand jury investigation, he already knew that Armitage was the source.

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