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Today's News Of The Weird

. . . comes via CIA-agent-turned-blogger Larry Johnson, who's flacking Valerie Plame's new book and reveals this tidbit from it:

In 2004 the FBI received intelligence that Al Qaeda hit teams were enroute to the United States to kill *** Cheney, Karl Rove, and Valerie Plame. The FBI informed Valerie of this threat. This was just more "good" news piled on the fact that her intelligence career was in shambles, that intelligence assets she had recruited/managed were destroyed, and that she was unable to rebut publicly false and malicious smears of her character and reputation by a bunch of partisan Republican hacks. As the mother of two pre-school children, her first thoughts were about protecting her kids. She took the threat seriously and asked for help.

When the White House learned of these threats they sprung into action. They beefed up Secret Service protection for Vice President Cheney and provided security protection to Karl Rove. mBut they declined to do anything for Valerie. That was a CIA problem.

Valerie contacted the office of Security at CIA and requested assistance. They told her too fucking bad and to go pound sand. They did not use those exact words, but they told her she was on her own.

Before learning of this I credited George Tenet with doing a good job of restoring morale at the CIA but criticized him strongly for playing politics with the White House and helping set the table for scamming the American public into the Iraq war. Now, in light of this revelation, I realize the man is a despicable coward. He refused to come to the aid of one of his CIA officers who faced a specific death threat. In fact, Georgie boy never once reached out to Valerie to provide any comfort or encouragement. He wanted to stay on good terms with the White House so he effectively cut her loose.

So if you have wondered why Joe and Val are a little pissed off, this might help shed some additional light on the matter. Not only did the Bush Administration out a covert intelligence officer working on the most sensitive national security issues in a time of war, but when that officer faced a direct threat to her life and her family's safety because of that public exposure, they did not do a goddamn thing to help. I don't know about you, but that fries my ass. [Emphasis added.]

Now, granted, I've never been told that Al Qaeda wanted me dead, so I guess I'm in no position to fault Plame for being unnerved by the intelligence. But doesn't the intelligence itself sound just a little farfetched? If the White House really "sprung into action" (as Johnson says it did) to protect Cheney and Rove, I guess that would be sadly consistent with the same freaked-out-9/12 mindset that has brought us so many other Bush administration overreactions, from Jose Padilla to the war in Iraq. But maybe Tenet didn't spring into action to protect Plame because he recognized the so-called intelligence for what it was.

--Jason Zengerle