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(DV) Whitney: Outing Valerie Plame Puts Us All in Greater Danger







Outing Valerie Plame Put Us All in Greater Danger     
by Mike Whitney
October 31, 2005

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Lost in the hubbub surrounding the “outing” of Valerie Plame is the story of Plame’s CIA front company, Brewster Jennings and Associates. B.J. & A was based in Boston and was “intended to infiltrate ties between groups involved in smuggling nuclear weapons. Since NOCs (CIA agents under non-official cover) usually work at companies set up by the CIA as fronts, it has been speculated that other employees of the company may have been doing work similar to Plame. If that were true, the damage done by leaking Plame’s name would be vastly multiplied, as all the other NOC’s would be compromised” (Wikipedia)

The fact that the Bush administration’s highest ranking officials deliberately endangered national security to pursue a personal vendetta is alarming, but equally disturbing is the fact that their behavior has greatly enhanced the likelihood of nuclear weapons proliferation. By outing Valerie Plame the administration has exposed the war on terror as a fraud. Brewster Jennings and Associates was a vital part of the United States’ covert strategy to fight the spread of WMD. Cheney and his lieutenants intentionally sabotaged that operation in an effort to destroy a personal enemy of the Bush White House. Their action has put us all at greater risk.

We have no idea what investigations or operations may have been underway when Cheney, Libby and Rove blew Valerie Plame’s cover because B.J. & A’s activities are completely concealed from public view. It could be that they were tracing fissile material being smuggled out of Russia by terrorist organizations as has long been feared, or they may have been in contact with scientists clandestinely monitoring Iran’s nuclear programs or, they may have been secretly screening irregular activity by the North Koreans in their stepped up campaign to build nuclear weapons.

We just don’t know.

But, we do know that Plame’s CIA “front company” represents the first line of defense in protecting the security of the United States from the increasing danger of “loose nukes.” The destruction of that company by Cheney and his colleagues is a crime of incalculable magnitude. This explains why Judge Thomas Hogan, who currently presides over the Fitzgerald investigation, stated that the journalists “did not possess a qualified privilege” to withhold information, and that, even if they believed they were defending their rights under the First Amendment “Special Counsel would be able to meet even the most stringent of balancing tests.”

Hogan was signaling that the significance and gravity of the breach to national security clearly outweighed the potential violations to the First Amendment.

Hogan further added, “The subpoenas were not issued in an attempt to harass the (reporters), but rather from legitimate needs due to an unanticipated shift in the grand jury’s investigation.”

The “unanticipated shift in the grand jury’s investigation,” implies that there have been critical developments in the case directly related to national security. Hogan’s ominous words suggest that Cheney and his White House Iraq Group (WHIG) will have a difficult time avoiding responsibility for their actions.

So far, most of the discussion about the indictments has focused on their connection to the Iraq war. They reveal the extent of the planning that went into deceiving the country about Saddam’s imaginary weapons programs. But, these revelations, as crucial as they may be, ignore the fact that administration has already done irreparable harm to the nation that we will never hear anything about. If CIA agents in the field were killed or captured, we’ll never know. Nor will we know if critical supplies of nuclear material disappeared while America’s undercover defenses were shut down.

It is inconceivable that the administration would be so vindictive and shortsighted as to jeopardize America’s safety simply to crush a political opponent. Certainly, the harm of Joseph Wilson’s NY Times op-ed cannot compare to the vast damage of exposing a vital CIA operation. In Valerie Plame’s career alone, which spans 20 years, hundreds of contacts will be exposed or put in harm’s way; an essential part of American’s counter-proliferation effort will be eviscerated.

It will be very difficult now for the Bush administration to claim that its war on terror is designed to limit the spread of WMD. The spiteful behavior of Cheney, Rove and Libby has demonstrated that politics take precedent over everything, even nuclear proliferation. They have intentionally weakened America’s defenses and betrayed the people they are sworn to serve.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state, and can be reached at:

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