Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hyman Defends Treason

In his recent commentary on Valerie Plame, Mark Hyman claims that using the internet, it took him “literally . . . less than three minutes to learn Plame was [Joseph] Wilson’s wife.”

It took me literally less than three minutes on the internet to learn that Hyman’s full of it.

The upshot of Hyman’s editorial is that it doesn’t really matter if Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA agent, since:

Plame's inept and clumsy actions most certainly spotlighted her as a CIA
employee. Consequently, any foreign agents she met with were likely
double-agents feeding her bogus intelligence.

Well, at least Hyman admits that Plame *was* an undercover agent, which some on the right still deny. But that’s about the only thing he gets right.

Hyman says he easily found out that Plame was Wilson’s wife. But that’s not the point. That Wilson had a wife named Valerie Plame was public knowledge. That
she was an undercover CIA agent wasn’t.

Hyman says that Plame listed her mailing address as the U.S. Embassy in Greece in 1991, "a red flag that would immediately identify her as a CIA employee instead of a commercial contractor.”

But Plame wasn’t undercover as a commercial contractor at that time. She was an embassy employee. The private firm that served as her cover didn’t even exist on paper until several years later. Hyman simply doesn’t bother to do his homework here.

Hyman says that Plame’s cover with the firm of
Brewster-Jennings was implausible since the company only claimed revenues of $60,000. Any foreign government surely knew instantly that she was CIA.

First of all, Plame didn’t conjure up the company; the CIA had been using it for years. So suggesting that Plame somehow made a professional blunder in creating a faulty cover is nonsense. The CIA created it, and it knew what it was doing. The firm was a consulting company that only had a couple of people on its “payroll” and had limited office space. It was designed to appear as a very small (i.e., unobtrusive and hard to track) company.

But let’s say Plame was the “Inspector Clouseau” that Hyman mocks her as. Obviously, such a nincompoop wouldn’t be tapped to head up intelligence efforts on something as important as Saddam Hussein’s alleged WMD’s, right? Not by our steadfast wartime president and his stalwart band of evildoer-fighters!

Well, actually yes, as it turns out. In a new book by David Corn and Michael Isikoff,
we learn that Plame was in charge of operations for the Joint Task Force on Iraq, the intelligence group tasked with coming up with the goods on Hussein’s alleged WMD program. Unfortunately, their work was interrupted by the invasion of Iraq.

So Hyman spends his commentary running down the reputation of a CIA operative who had been picked to help the administration make its case for war (and as we’ve seen, he does so using bogus charges).

If Plame was so obviously inept, what does that say about those that chose her?

It’s a moot question, because Plame was obviously a well-qualified and well-practiced agent, which makes it all the more atrocious that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby would leak her identity to the press (
which they unarguably did; that Richard Armitage did so as well is immaterial) and lie about doing so afterward.

As a result of the Plame leak, not only did the U.S. lose an important asset in fighting terrorism, but it undercut and endangered many others. Once her cover was exposed, any other agent who had used Brewster-Jennings as a cover were compromised. Foreign governments could go back and track the activities of agents for the past ten years, now knowing that anyone they had records for that named that company as an employer were in fact agents. Agents, their covers, and the tactics of American intelligence were all compromised.

And for what? So that the administration could punish a man who dared state facts that contradicted the administration’s carefully orchestrated storyline. So that Bush and the neo-cons could have their war.

People are put in jail for life for compromising U.S. security in pursuit of their personal political agendas (Aldrich Ames, anybody?).

Yet Hyman, a man who has no hesitation accusing anyone who disagrees with the policy that has ended up killing 2600 servicemen and women of “hating the troops” not only defends those who endangered the U.S. in pursuit of their own agendas, but mocks the very idea that the issue is worth discussing by saying that it doesn’t really matter whether it happened or not.

But most Americans don’t find any triviality in treason.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 4.67


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