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Outed CIA officer has advice for whistleblower under fire

Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

She was thrust into the spotlight after her husband, Joe Wilson, a former diplomat, had written an op-ed that publicly contradicted part of President George W. Bush's justification for going to war in Iraq.

The CIA had sent Wilson to the African nation of Niger to investigate whether it had sold a uranium concentrate to Iraq for a suspected nuclear weapons program. Wilson, who died in September, quickly determined the claim was false.

But administration officials, in an apparent act of retaliation, suggested Wilson only got the job because he was married to a CIA officer, and leaked her name to several reporters. A subsequent investigation led to the jailing of a New York Times reporter who refused to reveal her source and the conviction of a top White House official for lying and obstruction.

Plame sees a common thread: "Shoot the messenger. Trump is fantastic at this tactic -- 'Look at the shiny ball,'" she said.

Plame said she fears the whistleblower could face personal danger as the rhetoric escalates. She said she was denied protection for her and her family after they received a credible threat.

"I felt somewhat, frankly, abandoned by the leadership of the CIA. They didn't know what to do with me. I was such a political hot potato," she said.


In the end, Plame said she relied on friends and family for support -- and urged the whistleblower to do the same.

"This will be a storm, you will need them," she said. "He'll just have to hunker down and try to weather this."

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