May 28th, 2014
07:32 PM ET
4 years ago

Valerie Plame: CIA outing 'colossally stupid'

(CNN) - Another CIA official whose cover was blown by a presidential administration said the inadvertent outing of an intelligence official in Afghanistan by the White House was “colossally stupid” and will have repercussions for the intelligence community.

But Valerie Plame, whose identity was infamously leaked by the Bush administration in 2003 and touched off a scandal, said on Wednesday it’s an apples to oranges comparison as it appears to be a mistake, rather than a malicious takedown.

"Well it was colossally stupid of course," Plame told CNN’s “The Situation Room” about the misstep during President Barack Obama’s trip to Afghanistan on Sunday. "What an error of huge proportions with tremendous consequences.”

Accidental outing of CIA official could end a covert career

The White House has ordered an investigation of how the name of Afghanistan’s chief of station – the covert head of U.S. intelligence in the country – wound up on a list of people at a briefing with Obama at Bagram Airfield.

The list was circulated to thousands of journalists, and corrected afterward when officials were alerted by a reporter.

CNN has not named the official.

Plame was outed by members of George W. Bush’s administration in 2003 after her husband. former ambassador Joe Wilson, was critical of the White House and Iraq war. In a July 2003 column, journalist Robert Novak, citing two senior administration officials, noted that Plame was a CIA operative.

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage admitted to first revealing Plame's name. And Novak confirmed that former President George W. Bush's political strategist, Karl Rove, was the second source confirming the information.

"It all comes down to intent. What happened with me, my name was intended to be leaked in retaliation against my husband who was a fierce critic the Bush administration and the Iraq war," Plame said.

Plame said she misses her job, which involved halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and recruiting people to be U.S. spies.

"His covert career, as mine was, is finished," she said of the official in Afghanistan, pushing adamantly that he should leave the country immediately for his own safety.

No one was punished for leaking Plame's CIA role to the media. Scooter Libby, the chief of staff to then-Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI about the leak. President George W. Bush later commuted Libby's 30-month prison sentence.

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soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Winston Smith

    No one can argue these facts. Then again stupidity does seem to count more in the hiring, or electing these morons to office, than say common sense or education. We don't want any of this crap creeping into government offices.

    May 28, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. 1776usa2016

    It was Cheney who was behind the leak of Valerie Plame's name.
    The others were just pawns in the picture.


    May 28, 2014 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    So, how long you want to stay in mountainous dusty nation? To loot further treasury.

    May 28, 2014 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  4. urr_qasdim

    Nobody is above the law except Armitage and Rove (and a few hundred other members of the privileged society).

    May 28, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  5. Klaark

    When this news first broke, Republicans and conservatives were crowing about how terrible the Obama administration is and how this is the last straw, and so on. Kinda funny how their Lord and Savior George W. Bush, Regan rest his hallowed soul, was far worse in every way yet somehow America him and his Republican cronies.

    Hey, conservatives, better stick to pretending Benghazi was something it wasn't and pray Hillary doesn't run in 2016. How's the Tea Party by the way? Lol.

    May 28, 2014 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. Spgfld Tom

    What can you expect from a bunch of ultra liberal "community activists" who totally disrespect our country?

    May 28, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Kinda like the things Plame has been saying?????

    Whoever made her a CIA operative in the first place, needs to see a shrink.

    May 28, 2014 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  8. S. B. Stein

    Plame's outing was intentional while this wasn't.

    May 28, 2014 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  9. dave

    How dare CNN question Glorious Leader....

    May 28, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. brownbuttonglutton

    She was not a covert operative. She was a secretary in Virginia. She made coffee and xeroxs.

    May 28, 2014 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  11. Petey Isom

    Fact checking stops after an election and I am sure blue/green eyes, blond hair and flawless skin definatelly didn't conjure any suspicions in afganistan when recruiting spies.

    May 28, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  12. JamesS

    Plame is colossally stupid herself. She outed herself to her future husband as a turn-on at a party when she wanted to pick him up. She told Joe Wilson, who had absolutely no need to know, that she was an undercover CIA operative.

    But she is correct that the exposure of the Chief of Station there is monumentally - dare we say "galactically" - stupid on the part of the Obama administration.

    But it's just what we've come to expect from it.

    May 28, 2014 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  13. Davies

    Robert Novak, as an investigative journalist, asked the right question to the right person and was, unfortunately, given the right answer; how did Joe Wilson, a former political appointee, get chosen to make a trip to Africa on a "fact finding" mission on behalf of the CIA, without any apparent credentials or qualifications. A very good question no one else was asking at the time. "Retaliation" is just a partisan line that exposes BiaS in the writer, editor, and employer. The capital letters are intentional... Answer me this, why would a covert CIA operative not question the wisdom of having her husband write a politically volatile op/ed in the NYT. Either Ms Plame is incredibly dumb or understood the calculus and deemed it worthy of future unemployment. Last I heard, she's doing quite well. Set up..., and the Bush admin fell for it hard.

    May 28, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. Libmylibs

    Valerie: Why not talk about your speaking engagements as well as your husbands where you two rake in well over 100K each? Stop whining!

    May 28, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Of course the leak was "colossally stupid" it is a democrat administration.....a republican administration is malicious!

    May 28, 2014 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  16. Ron

    In your dreams should people respond.

    May 28, 2014 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  17. Sick of it

    The Obama administration has no sense of appropriateness or tact; he & his staff of moron's have no clue about national security or the slightest modicum of knowing how to filter their language. Way to go White House!

    May 28, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  18. Namebob201

    And how do we know if this CIA head was critical of Obama's administration and got outed for that?

    May 28, 2014 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  19. sam

    Plame wasn't on assignment, so NOT outed. Just identified as a past agent. Obama did out an agent on assignment, very big damage, but the idiot didn't mean to SOOOOO all is forgiven.

    May 28, 2014 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  20. No name

    I guess when it's done by a republican it's deliberate but when done by a democrat it's a stupid mistake. Maybe we should just acknowledge that both parties have stupid people working for them.

    May 28, 2014 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  21. Vaq

    Obamas administration is stupid

    May 28, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  22. Randall

    Valerie Plame is right.

    Someone should be held accountable. Also we should stop demanding that we know everything the government does. Transparency is good up to a point but do you really want our enemies to know our military and intelligence details? If you know, so do they! They read CNN too!

    I say THANK YOU to Valerie Plame and her husband for their service to our country. Patriots both!!!!!!

    May 28, 2014 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  23. cbp

    Wasn't the first time this has happened and it certainly will not be the last time either. Spies are always at risk and that should be the first thing they are taught. Too many secrets that need to be kept. Let's work to make sure that it does not happen again. Skip the congressional inquiry. Too many issues that need more of our attention.

    As a first step let's get people working together.

    May 28, 2014 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  24. CWT

    A malicious take-down? Stupid as stupid is.

    May 28, 2014 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  25. u

    Obama's definition of "investigation": finding someone else to blame

    May 28, 2014 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
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