Congressional candidate Valerie Plame, a onetime CIA officer most well known in recent years for promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, is taking heat in the media for falsely accusing a Jewish government official of leaking her covert identity.
Plame, in a new ad promoting her congressional bid in New Mexico, not only stretches the truth about her past work for the CIA, but also promotes a widely discredited smear that her role in the agency was outed by a Jewish former George W. Bush administration official, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
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"I was an undercover CIA operative. My assignment was preventing rogue states and terrorists from getting nuclear weapons. You name a hot spot, I lived it," Plame states while the ad flashes images of "hot spots" like Iran and North Korea, where she never lived. Plame was only known to have been stationed in Greece.
Later in the advertisement, Plame states "Dick Cheney's chief of staff took revenge against my husband and leaked my identity. His name: Scooter Libby. Guess who pardoned him last year?" she then asks, referencing President Donald Trump's pardon of Libby.
Libby, however, was not the source for a column by longtime reporter Robert Novak that identified Plame's role in the CIA.
Plame's efforts to blame Libby, who is Jewish, are raising eyebrows across Washington, D.C., particularly in light of Plame's dissemination on Twitter of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory for which she later apologized.
A fact check of Plame's ad by the Washington Post gave her claim about Libby three out of four Pinocchios.
"Libby was convicted of perjury and lying to the FBI during its investigation, but he was not charged with leaking Plame's name," the paper stated.
Moreover, Novak, in his memoir, The Prince of Darkness, says that Libby never acted as a source for his disclosure of Plame's role at the CIA. The primary source was Richard Armitage, who served as deputy secretary of state in the Bush administration.
"I then asked Armitage a question that had been puzzling me but, for the sake of my future peace of mind, would better have been left unasked," Novak wrote. "Why would the CIA send Joseph Wilson, not an expert in nuclear proliferation and with no intelligence experience, on the mission to Niger? ‘Well,' Armitage replied, ‘you know his wife works at CIA, and she suggested that he be sent to Niger.' ‘His wife works at CIA?' I asked. ‘Yeah, in counter proliferation.'"
"He mentioned her first name, Valerie," Novak recalls.
"I interpreted that as meaning Armitage expected to see the item published in my column," Novak concluded.
Armitage "acknowledged to me nearly three months later … that he was indeed the primary source for my information about Wilson's wife," Novak states. "Shortly thereafter, he secretly revealed his role to federal authorities investigating the leak of Mrs. Wilson's name but did not inform White House officials, apparently including the president."
It became clear in later years that "Mrs. Wilson had been ‘outed' years earlier by the traitor and Soviet agent Aldrich Ames, which had ended her career as a covert agent long before I wrote about her," according to Novak's book.