CIA veteran Valerie Plame Wilson was never supposed to be famous. For 20 years it came naturally to her to lie to her friends and family about being a spy. (She says none of them were mad at her when they found out.) She used false passports and work names and disguises. WATCH VIDEO
She was the best shot with an AK-47 in her mostly-male CIA training class.
She was good enough that, with infant girl-boy twins at home, she went back to work at the CIA, less than full time, and was chosen to be Director of Operations for the Joint Task Force on Iraq. When Condoleeza Rice told the country we didn’t want the “smoking gun” in Iraq to be a “mushroom cloud,” it was Valerie Wilson’s job to mount the operations that would discover if Saddam actually did have nuclear weapons. And from time to time, she did it with two toddlers playing under the desk.
She thinks being female and blonde may have made her more effective on operations, because who expects a spy to look like that? (Obviously not her boss on her first foreign assignment, who made her come into his office, instructed her to turn around, and announced, “Great, great. You’ll do fine here.”)
She doesn’t read spy novels and laughs at shows like “ALIAS” (about a beautiful young female spy) because, as she puts it, “real life is so much better.”
But when her husband angered the Bush administration by criticizing the war in Iraq, and she was “outed,” it was tough. Wilson writes that the stress she and her husband faced almost ended their marriage. They were financially devastated when his consulting business dried up.
And scary things began to happen – scarier than being called names in the paper. She worried that al Qaeda might target her family. She got death threats and crank calls. She gives no details, but her former colleague, Larry Johnson, writes on his blog, NoQuarterUSA “in 2004 the FBI received intelligence that Al Qaeda hit teams were enroute to the United States to kill Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Valerie Plame.”
Wilson knew about the threat. Yet the CIA turned down her request for security for her children. She taught her nanny counter-surveillance techniques herself.
In her book, “FAIR GAME: MY LIFE AS A SPY, MY BETRAYAL BY THE WHITE HOUSE” (Read a Book Excerpt here) she also recounts being audited by the IRS in 2005 for the first time in her life, and the mysterious but alarming discovery that the structural bolts that had connected her elevated deck to the back of her house were all missing, one year after it was completely renovated.
She also believes the CIA went after her book more aggressively than the books of other ex-spies. Roughly 10% of it is “redacted” – here on page 50 and 51, all you can see are the periods. We’ll probably never know what she wanted to tell us on that page, or many more.
That’s not all we don’t know. Valerie Wilson and her husband are still in civil court, suing Vice President Cheney, his Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, and others, because the one mystery this spy never unraveled is … who started it all? Someone knew her secret and told others, who told reporters, who told the world. Now the woman whose career was ended when she was “outed” now wants that someone “outed” as well.