Whitley's Journal

A National Catastrophe

The outing of Valerie Plame in the column of Robert Novak has now led to the resignation of Jim Pavitt from the CIA. Mr. Pavitt was Valerie Plame?s superior. His work has been devastated by this catastrophic security leak, and he has apparently chosen to resign as a result. The announcement of his retirement is the tip of an iceberg of national disaster.

Don?t believe for a moment the rantings of lying radio hosts about this case. Valerie Plame was no small fish. The revelation of her name is, in fact, the most serious intelligence disaster in the history of this country. Only a tiny number of high officials, such as the president, the secretaries of state and defense, and a few high White House officials even have access to the names of the CIA?s NOC ?non-official cover? officers. These are seemingly private individuals who are actually key CIA personnel, whose clandestine activities are run via carefully designed covers, companies that are legitimate from top to bottom and are not in any way thought to be CIA-associated, and have survived years of scrutiny from foreign intelligence operations, and are believed by even the best of them to be entirely non-CIA connected.

The names on the NOC list are among the greatest secrets possessed by our country, and the leaking of this particular name at this particular time could well be the single most traitorous act in our history, because it has blinded us to the actions of Iran as they are in the process of acquiring nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

In the case of Valerie Plame, she was connected with a company called Brewster-Jennings and Associates. They were primarily active in the US and Saudi Arabia, but also engaged in activities in China, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and Syria.

Two decades of intelligence work in these countries has been compromised or destroyed by this monstrous act. Worse, we can no longer trust any intelligence being gathered via this critical resource.

Let me be very specific about the extent of this problem. Here are just two of the areas of possible compromise:

Spread across the southern areas of the former Soviet Union are numerous nuclear devices, fissionable material and delivery systems in various degrees of decay, nominally guarded by Russia and the countries in which the materials are now found. In addition, I assume that the United States has extensive operations in these areas, there to make sure that nothing more goes missing, and that what has already gone missing is tracked and located.

That work may now be effectively destroyed.

The United States also, I would think, maintain sensitive operations in Iran and North Korea that would be designed to see if they obtain effective delivery systems, or begin engineering them based on Russian parts and plans. Those programs may be destroyed or compromised.

The result of all this is that, just as extremely dangerous countries are in the process of acquiring or building nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, the United States has been blinded to their activities.

It cannot be that this was what has been portrayed: the act of a vindictive official intent on ruining Ms. Plame?s career because her husband annoyed the administration. It is more than that, it must be. The reason is simple. Everybody who knew her name also knew what she did and how extraordinarily sensitive her work was.

There are rumors that the grand jury that has been convened as part of the investigation of this leak will issue indictments of high officials quite soon.

The President has retained the services of a criminal lawyer, Jim Sharp, to represent him before the grand jury.

The Washington rumor mill also has it that he?s done this because he knew the source of the leak and may have violated the law by not informing the FBI. The rumor mill also has it that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney may be indicted in the matter.

Of course, this is a partisan time, so there?s no way of telling how true such rumors are. In any case, it doesn?t matter. The grand jury apparently has the name of the individual or individuals responsible. It is to be hoped that, if found guilty, no matter how high they may be, the people responsible be made to suffer the maximum penalty for the horrific crime they have committed.

In the meantime, we can only wait and pray that a nuclear weapon does not go off somewhere in the world?or even more than one. The worst case nuclear scenario is that a bomb devastates a great western city, and the west is then warned that many other cities are mined with similar weapons, and this is done by a shadowy ?terrorist group.?

Because of the intelligence catastrophe that we have sustained, we will not be able to track the actual source of that terrorist group. We will, in fact, be forced to surrender to whatever demands these unknown parties make.

I blame not only the traitor who leaked this information, but Mr. Novak for publishing it. While there are obviously First Amendment issues involved, the crime is a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act as well as an act of high treason. All parties concerned should be prosecuted, including Novak. The constitutional issues should be a matter for adjudication, given the seriousness of the crime.

I have been exploring in my own mind what the motive behind this leak must have been. If it was mere vindictiveness, then the person who did it is a dangerous fool, and he should be punished and whoever was responsible for putting him in a position where he could do this damage should fired and disgraced.

In my worst nightmares, I fear that this was done by somebody who shares the lunatic belief that inducing the battle of Armageddon will bring about the rapture, and that it was done in hopes of causing a nuclear holocaust. Or that it was done by a fundamentalist Moslem terrorist who is actually also a high US official.

Maybe the true motive will never be known. But this is clear: it is a great national disaster, and a potential tragedy of world-historic proportions that, if it is set in motion, we will now be powerless even to see until too late, let alone stop.

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