Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Truth Can Finally Be Told

Now that Bob Woodward has gone public, it's time for me to do so as well.

I too knew Valerie Plame's identity.

In June 2003, I received a phone call from a senior administration official. Through his/her attorney, he/she has since given me permission to reveal his/her name. But because I cannot absolutely confirm that this was an explicit personal waiver given freely and without coercion, aspen trees turning in clusters etc etc, I am compelled to take his/her name to my grave.

I can say, however, that my source was not Lewis Libby, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, Steven Hadley, Ahmed Chalabi, Mark Felt, Judith Miller, or Rafael Palmeiro. It might have been Dick Cheney speaking in a falsetto, but I doubt it.

We began by talking about the weather.

"Sure has been muggy lately," the official said.

"Sure has," I agreed.

The official then asked if I knew who Joe Wilson was (I did) and that he went to Niger to investigate Saddam Hussein's alleged attempt to purchase 500 tons of yellowcake uranium. I said I was intimate with the details of the case.

Then, in a casual off-hand way, the official asked if I also knew that Wilson's wife Valerie Plame was not really an energy consultant for the firm of Brewster-Jennings but was in fact a covert agent investigating WMDs for the CIA, that Brewster-Jennings was itself an agency front organization, and that it was Plame who sent her husband on this pissant boondoggle?

No, I said.

The official concluded by trying to sell me a time share in the Florida Keys--two weeks a year, low maintenance fees, no money down. It was a tempting offer, but I declined.

Later I thought little of this conversation. In fact, it slipped my memory entirely until just a few moments ago, when reading the articles about Woodward's testimony. This may have been due to the head trauma I suffered later that summer, or that week-long bender in Tijuana with the Girl Scouts and the Mariachis.

Nonetheless, I apologize to my editor and my colleagues for withholding this information for more than two years, and for commenting blithely on the Plame case on my blog and in public. I promise that the next time a top government official violates national security by revealing the name of a covert CIA agent to me, I will take it a little more seriously.

I'm ready for my deposition now, Mr. Fitzgerald.


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