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The Plame Affair: A Quartet of Betrayals

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Shed no tears for Valerie Plame. It's easy to tell by the radiant smile on her face when she's out in public that, despite the designation "fair game" that Karl Rove slapped on her in a conversation with Chris Matthews, she's not a bitter woman. Besides, since she was once an employee of the CIA with its heinous history, the amount of sympathy she's got coming to her is pretty paltry.

Nevertheless, she's been betrayed yet again. On July 19, the lawsuit Valerie Plame had filed against Vice-President Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Richard Armitage for both violating her privacy and taking revenge on her husband (for leaving their yellowcake out in the rain) was dismissed.

Federal Judge John Bates claimed his hands were tied by "special factors" -- statutes enacted by Congress to cover alleged harm to CIA operatives and other federal employees. A Bush appointee, he's the same judge who, according to Truthout, "dismissed a lawsuit filed by the federal government. . . [seeking] access to Cheney's energy task force documents."

But, along with the revelation of her identity as an undercover CIA agent, this wasn't the only other occasion that Ms. Plame suffered betrayal at the hands of the nation. Sandwiched in between were two other instances.

The first was the response of the media. It's true that Plamegate has been a font of regurgitation for talking heads to ruminate on. But network and cable TV have failed to capitalize on its obvious potential as a human interest story.

Actually, failing to grant Plamegate wider exposure is less a betrayal of Ms. Plame than of the public. We've been cheated out of an opportunity to understand the extent of the injustice to which the administration subjected not only her, but the nation as a whole.

Why did the networks fail to take advantage of Plamegate? After all, they're always on the lookout for sensational news stories, especially those featuring blondes. Plamegate not only boasts a fabulous blond, but the other characters seem drawn straight from central casting, while the narrative could have been lifted from a film script.

The second betrayal was the response of the hard right. What compelled it to come to the defense of an act of –- call a spade a spade -- treason? As it never stops reminding Democrats and liberals, its stock in trade is security. You'd think it wouldn't want to touch a breach in our national defense with a ten-foot pole. Regarding the networks' lack of enthusiasm for Plamegate, you'll see how surprising that was, once the ingredients are spread before you. As for the characters, the protagonist not only worked for the CIA, but was a woman agent. Furthermore, she was not only a woman, but a knockout. Not only was she beautiful, but Grace Kelly-elegant.

As for the story, not only wasn't the protagonist's identity revealed by an enemy, but by our very own executive branch. Nor, not only did the executive branch double-cross her, but it did so even though she had been working in a field dear to its heart -- investigating the presence of nuclear weapons in Iraq (as well as Iran).

Not only was Ms. Plame attempting to unearth evidence of WMDs in Iraq, but her husband was as well, while on a mission to Niger. Not only that, but, with his debonair and commanding ways, he came off like a leading man. Not only was he dashing, but, as deputy chief of mission to the US Embassy in Iraq prior to the Gulf War, he appeared in public with a noose around his neck and dared Saddam Hussein to execute him.

Not only did Joseph Wilson save thousands of Americans and other foreigners on that occasion by helping them to evacuate before the war, but this time he was attempting to save all of us from a war with a rationale that paled in comparison to the earlier.

Not only did he try to keep us out of Iraq, but he gallantly came to his beleaguered wife's defense at every turn. Not only did he display his nobility toward his wife, he called for Karl Rove, as punishment for his part in the affair, to be frog-marched out of the White House.

As if that weren't enough to convince the networks they had a hot story on their hands, Plamegate boasted the perfect villain in the nefarious Robert Novak. (Okay, his character is broadly drawn, but whose fault is that?) Not to mention that in Judith Miller, who seemed to serve two masters -- The New York Times and the administration -- they had the perfect double agent.

Why then would CNN Entertainment News, for one, pass on this once-in-a-lifetime story? Let's start with Judith Miller.

When she agreed to be imprisoned, it was darned near impossible to divine her motives. Was she standing up for the first amendment and protecting a source? Or was she just trying to rehabilitate her journalism career, which lay in tatters after she "stovepiped" (channeled without filtering) the administration's faulty case for war straight to the pages of the Times?

She might have been protecting a source all right -- herself. As, Margaret Kimberly of The Chicago Defender helpfully explained, "Judith Miller may have been . . . . the one who gave up Valerie Plame [to the White House]."

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Russ Wellen is the nuclear deproliferation editor for OpEdNews. He's also on the staffs of Freezerbox and Scholars & Rogues.

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