Valerie Plame (Spy)
Written by Peter Fitzgerald
History of War - Spies
The story of Valerie Plame is an interesting one that could grace the outline of a Hollywood blockbuster film. Valerie Plame was a CIA Operations Officer until just after the year 2000, she enjoyed a great career in the CIA but events outside her control effectively ended her career in the CIA.
It was in 2003 when her career ended, although she did not resign until 2005. The reason her career was cut short was because a newspaper journalist wrote a column in the newspaper he worked for giving her name as an active CIA operative. The journalist gained this information from the US State Department, as you are about to find out.
Early life of Valerie Plame
Valerie Plame was born in 1963 on a United States Air Force base called Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska. Plame’s father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force and her family were a family who believed in duty to the country. This was something that would support her move into the CIA later in life.
Plame enjoyed a strong education that saw her graduate through high school and college before heading to the Pennsylvania State University where she graduated with a degree in 1985. It was at this time that she joined the CIA.
Valeria Plame in the CIA
Plame joined the CIA in 1985; here she completed a one year CIA officer training class which she passed and joined the CIA proper in 1986.
Because the career of Plame is in recent times and of national security the exact nature of her work in her long career is not well known, but below is what we do know.
It is understood that in her CIA career Plame did work undercover on at least two occasions, with two of these being in Belgium and Greece. In these positions she was classed as a Non-official cover (NOC) which means she had no government cover and was effectively “acting alone”.
In the early 1990’s post the Gulf War we also know the CIA actively promoted and paid for Plame to study and gain two masters degrees, one from each of the London School of Economics and the College of Europe.
By 1997 Plame was stationed at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, this was until 2001 where she was back overseas in a cover position working on a variety of nuclear related projects. These projects included ensuring Iran did not gain nuclear capabilities, monitoring Iraq to see if they were working on a nuclear project and also managing other spies in doing the same.
Plame’s career was going really well and she was seen as an exemplary CIA operative, this was until 2003.
In July 2003 Washington Post journalist Robert Novak wrote an article about Valerie Plame being an undercover operative. This information is said to have come from the then United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage after Armitage had a meeting with another Washington Post journalist called Bob Woodward.
This ousting of Plame as an undercover operative effectively ended her career as it put her and her CIA work in danger.
Plame was retired from active CIA service and resigned from her post as a CIA officer in 2005 after twenty years with the CIA.
Plame after the CIA
After her career finished in the CIA Plame has been an author of fictional novels, fact based memoirs and also involved in a film deal about her life in the CIA which was released in 2010 called the “Fair Game”.
Plame has also set about raising civil lawsuits against people in government office at the time of her name being uncovered as a CIA operative.