The Valerie Plame affair

To the Economist

20 August 2004

Sir, the "leaking" of Valerie Plame's status as a "covert operative" of the CIA was not by White House officials but by her husband, Joe Wilson. The White House had correctly, and legally, described her as a CIA employee. Since she is based at Langley, it is difficult to see how she could be "covert".

The purpose of the leak was to cast doubt on Wilson's credentials, not to link him to the CIA. The implication - which, despite Wilson's denials has been demonstrated by Plame's own e-mails - was that Plame secured the prestigious appointment for her husband.

Therefore the persecution of both journalists and White House officials should now end. The law was designed to protect the lives of covert operatives overseas, not the reputation of analysts at Langley. It was certainly not designed to prevent journalists uncovering nepotism.

Yours truly,

Quentin Langley

Copyright 20 August 2004

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