IN HIS FIRST INTERVIEW SINCE THE INDICTMENT OF I. LEWIS LIBBY,
JOE WILSON, HUSBAND OF THE UNMASKED CIA AGENT VALERIE PLAME,
SAYS THERE HAVE BEEN THREATS AGAINST HER � "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY
Former CIA Colleagues say the Unmasking of Plame Could Cause Harm to Other Agents
Joe Wilson, whose wife's unmasking as a CIA agent is at the center of the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation, said today that that his wife, Valerie Plame, has been threatened. Wilson talks to Ed Bradley in his first interview since Fitzgerald announced the indictment of I. Lewis Libby. It will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday Oct. 30 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
"There have been specific threats [against Plame]. Beyond that I just can't go," Wilson tells Bradley. Wilson says he and his wife have discussed security for her with "several agencies."
Former CIA colleagues say that by revealing her identity, harm could be caused to the CIA's agents and operations. "If a CIA agent is exposed, then everyone coming in contact with that agent is exposed," says Jim Marcinkowski, a former CIA agent who trained with Plame at the top-secret Virginia facility known as "the Farm." "There is a possibility that there were other agents that would use that same kind of a cover. So they may have been using Brewster Jennings just like her," said Marcinkowski, referring to the fictional firm the CIA set up as her cover that also came out when journalists, including Robert Novak, disclosed it.
Marcinkowski also points out, "[Plame] is the wife of an ambassador, for example. Now, since this happened�they'll know there's a possibility that the wife of a U.S. ambassador is a CIA agent."
Another friend, once a covert CIA operative, says people who say Plame wasn't in a sensitive position need to understand how intricate a cover story is, regardless of what an agent is working on. "Cover is�for a clandestine officer, can be different things at different times. We change cover. We modify cover based on how we need it. But that cover is linked together," she tells Bradley. "If you start to unravel one part of that, you can unravel the whole thing."
Rep. Rush Holt (D.-NJ), a former intelligence analyst and member of the House Intelligence Committee, agrees. "I think any time the identity of a covert agent is released, there is some damage -- and it's serious." Holt says it's possible agents overseas could be arrested or even killed, but "if there were, and I'd been briefed on it, I couldn't talk about it," he tells Bradley. He did say he has been assured the CIA was mitigating the effects of the leak. "They have taken the usual procedures to protect the damage from spreading."
Those procedures began the moment Valerie Plame learned her cover was blown. Upon finding out about the leak of her name, "she felt like she'd been hit in the stomach. It took her breath away," said Wilson. Then she methodically went to work, he says, "making lists of what she had to do to ensure that her assets, her projects, her programs and her operations were protected."
Wilson tells Bradley, contrary to reports that many knew Plame was in the CIA, that only he and three other people knew. "Well, very few people outside the intelligence community [knew she was CIA]. Her parents and her brother, essentially," says Wilson.