March 14, 2006
News > Valerie Plame Wasn't Under Non-Official Cover
Valerie Plame wasn't a NOC. Any cover she had was paper thin.
When the Chicago Tribune searched for Plame on an Internet service that sells public information about private individuals to its subscribers, it got a report of more than 7,600 words. Included was the fact that in the early 1990s her address was "AMERICAN EMBASSY ATHENS ST, APO NEW YORK NY 09255."
I am not in intelligence and what I know of it is gleaned from books. I admit that. But what I have gleaned is this:
EMBASSY "COVER" IS NOT COVER AND NEVER HAS BEEN.
All intelligence services know that 1/3 to 1/2 of everyone who works in an embassy is actually a spy. So they watch them all. Anyone who works in an embassy is a suspsected spy.
In fact, CIA traitor Phillip Agee -- for whom the covert agent proectection act was SPECIFICALLY written -- revealed how you could determine all CIA "diplomants" from true diplomats in an embassy just by looking at their accreditation. I forget the details, and I wouldn't be comfortable repeating them if I did, but apparently the true diplomats jealously protect their acceditation, and won't allow the CIA plants to fake the same accreditation. So you can (or could, when the traitor's article came out) look down the embassy roster searching for who was a DSO or DFO (I forget what the acronym was) and immediately determine all the CIA operatives.
This is all in addition to the fact the Plame wasn't serving overseas, hadn't served overseas in approximately five years, and was in all likelihood outed by her own husband. Has there ever been a bigger waste of pundit time than the Wilson/Plame affair?
Posted by lesjones
Perhaps you heard the phrase "reestablishing human intelligence" during the discussion over the Dubai Ports World contract, the point being that by entering into business relations with such companies, intelligence conduits are established that give us access to information about that company and its clients. In the globalized world, corporate espionage has become important, and consultancies are replacing embassies as cover for spies.
Valerie Plame worked for such a consultancy, Brewster & Jennings, which contracted with Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, and many other energy firms throughout the Middle East. The Plame leak blew the cover of Brewster & Jennings.
When you hear people talking about reestablishing human intelligence, it's natural to wonder what happened to the intelligence assets we had. I suspect the assets we are trying to replace are the ones lost when Brewster & Jennings was blown.
Given that a special Pentagon bureau was created as planning for the Iraq invasion began so that information from Ahmad Chalabi and his INC cohorts could be fed straight to the White House without any vetting by the CIA or other intelligence agenc ies, and given that Chalabi later told Iran we had broken their encryption scheme, causing him to be unceremoniously dumped from the CIA payroll, I'd say a person honestly concerned about the integrity of our intelligence community has ample reason to worry that White House meddling, whether clumsy or deliberate, has caused real damage to our ability to collect information from the Middle East.
Boston Globe: Apparent CIA front didn't offer much cover:
Plame's exposure as an intelligence operative has become a major controversy in Washington. Former intelligence officials confirmed Plame's cover was an invention and that she used other false identities and affiliations when working overseas. "All it was was a telephone and a post office box," said one former intelligence official who asked not to be identified. "When she was abroad she had a more viable cover."
That's a good thing, considering how little work seems to have gone in to establishing the company's presence in Boston, intelligence observers said. While the renovated building houses legal and investment firms, current and former building managers said they've never heard of Brewster Jennings. Nor did the firm file the state and local records expected of most businesses.
Both factors would have aroused the suspicions of anyone who tried to check up on Brewster Jennings, said David Armstrong, an Andover researcher for the Public Education Center, a liberal Washington think tank.
At the least, a dummy company ought to create the appearance of activity, with an office and a valid mailing address, he said. "A cover that falls apart on first inspection isn't very good. What you want is a cover that actually holds up . . . and this one certainly doesn't."
The Wall St Journal, Washington Post, and New Yorker have all reported that many CIA agents used Brewster & Jennings as cover. If B&J was created before it went shopping for Middle Eastern clients, the flimsy Boston address might have tripped them up, but neither of us has any idea how B&J was established. What we do know is that it was working as cover and was providing lots of information about ARAMCO and other Arab oil and energy concerns.
Your post implies that Plame was using embassy cover. She wasn't. Weak.
What do you make of the talk of "reestablishing intelligence on the ground" that surfaced during the Dubai Ports World discussion? Every time I heard officials talking like that, it sounded like we used to have better intelligence ties in the Middle East and we'd really like to build them up again. Where did they go?
We've got reports claiming that the Plame outing may have jeopardized dozens of agents operating under the cover of a consultancy with many Arab clients. We've got federal officials talking about replacing lost intelligence assets. Those seem like dots that connect.