May 28th, 2014
07:32 PM ET
6 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. Howard

    Leave it to CNN to write a story excusing the current administration's incompetence because of something that happened during the previous administration. Great job.

    May 28, 2014 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  2. christopher

    It's apples to oranges alright, but for a different reason than Plame could ever understand.

    May 28, 2014 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  3. Robert constant

    CNN's headline misses the point/ Valerie Plane was outed by the Bush Administration on purpose. It was probably done because CIA agent Plane was investigating the false stories floated by Cheney's office that Saddam Hussein had purchased Yellow Cake Uranium from Nigeria to use in a dirty bomb. It might also have been that Plane's husband , an ambassador, took issue with the Bush "weapons of Mass destruction" claim as did the the UN inspectors in Iraq.
    The spin on this headline leaves one wondering if Karl Rove is now writing CNN headlines.

    May 29, 2014 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  4. r smith

    Plame has become a whiny diva. Se has made millions off her 15 minutes of fame, but just keeps on sniveling.

    May 29, 2014 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  5. tychi

    I think it is rather obvious to everyone that it is stupid. Duh.

    May 29, 2014 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  6. rangermania

    This is normal. The entire Obama administration is colossally stupid!

    May 29, 2014 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  7. Mister P

    Despite being colossally stupid, it was a mistake on the part of the Obama administration. This is a lot different than the Bush Administration intentionally outing an operative in the field out of political spite, and putting her life in danger.

    May 29, 2014 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  8. G in DC

    Amazing that Cheney, Libby, and Armitage can commit treason and America looks the other way.

    May 29, 2014 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  9. Thomas

    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.

    Why did Dick Cheney expose a CIA agent ?

    May 29, 2014 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  10. jimmy

    The Republican's have been so bad for America over the last 10 years or so, its truly amazing that they are still representing 42-44 % of the population. Its ending though in 2016. By 2020 pretty much gone. Independents will fill the void.

    May 29, 2014 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  11. finy Njoku

    Sometimes in our daily activities, mistakes do happen. Its unfortunate it happened, and i also beleive that whosoever is responsible for the blunder must have learnt his or her lessons.

    May 29, 2014 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  12. just asking

    yes, just another colossally stupid mistake from the usual obama administration imbeciles that after 5.5 years still don't know how to do their jobs and endanger the lives of americans, if not just get them killed outright with their total incompetence.

    May 29, 2014 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  13. Monomachos

    Sucks to be a covert operative when you have fools for bosses.

    May 29, 2014 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  14. jrobinson

    "But Valerie Plame, whose identity was infamously leaked by the Bush administration in 2003"

    No, it was leaked by Richard Armitage – a liberal. Everybody knows this, why doesn't CNN?

    May 29, 2014 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  15. John

    Twelve paragraphs (including two or one sentence each) and 7 of them are about the Bush administration's problems. Way to spin the issue at hand CNN!

    May 29, 2014 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  16. pete

    The Bush administration did not leak the identity it was a reporter. Scooter Libby was found guilty of perjury because his story did not match a previous answer he had given some time before.

    May 29, 2014 04:46 am at 4:46 am |
  17. Name

    Stupid article! She has no idea why this guy was outed. No one does. Just someone else who wants more than her 15 minutes of fame.

    May 29, 2014 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  18. @RI_Roger

    Valarie Plame clearly over-stated her role and responsibilities at the time. She was a low level desk jockey who was selected by the left to exploit a situation for political gain and the main stream media played right into it. The real leaker got away with a crime and another individual was falsely accused of one. Where is Richard Armitrage now?

    May 29, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  19. Dub

    Doesn't matter. No one will be punished, no changes to occur. No management or leadership so this will blow over because no journalist will keep it alive. Either because another scandal will take its place or because they want to concentrate resources to good news stories about Obama or bad news about republicans or the tea party. Thanks for doing something, but I'm sure this is it.

    May 29, 2014 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  20. tsl

    and no one in the obama administration is ever at fault for anything, just keep blaming Bush and get promoted or moved to another job in "government".

    May 29, 2014 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  21. Steve- Illinois

    Valerie Plame, the "covert operative" that showed up for work every morning at Langley. Foreign spies just need to park outside CIA headquarters to identify our "operatives."

    May 29, 2014 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  22. jsf12

    Novak testified under oath that Rove was not a source confirming Plame's identity. When Novak told Rove Plame's identity and asked for confirmation, Rove only said that other reporters had already given him the same information.
    Plame and Wilson were always lying about Plame being outed by the Bush administration and CNN is getting aggressive at re launching those lies after sworn testimony of everyone involve showed they were lies.

    May 29, 2014 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  23. Mike Brown

    Better stupid than malicious. I guess.

    May 29, 2014 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  24. Stella

    It doesn't really matter what the intent was–this latest scandal's victim has lost his career due to the Obama administration's incompetence.

    May 29, 2014 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  25. an Iowan

    Big difference! The Bush administration's leak was deliberate and was meant to punish her husband. Bush did not like the fact that her husband was not willing to fuel the lies that Bush wanted everyone to believe as he launched an un-provoked attack on a foreign country. It was a deliberate act of treason executed by that administration.

    May 29, 2014 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
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