Valerie Plame, Keyhole Into the Locked Room of the Iraq War



Spooks, nukes, and celebrities are not all that unusual around Santa Fe and Los Alamos, where the atom bomb was invented, and where, today, the highest concentration of PhDs and millionaires in America are lavished with federal billions to create top secret weapons for the world's last military superpower. The woman luxuriating in the steam has spent a lot of time inside that and other nat-sec inner sanctums -- Langley, Los Alamos National Labs, the CIA's training "farm" and undisclosed locations around the world -- before Republican operatives, furious at her husband for contradicting their excuse for attacking Iraq in 2003, blew her cover. Even then, she didn't see a political future. "Through my years in the CIA, by and large, I did not know people's political proclivities," she says now. "It is just not a good sound bite to say you serve as an American, you don't serve as a Republican or Democrat. You're so busy doing your work. And I loved what I did."

Ten Thousand Waves spa is a long way from Iraq, and 2020 is a long time from 2003, but Plame -- whose congressional future will be decided by New Mexico voters in a few days -- is embedded in the modern history of that war. The U.S. never got its own Chilcot Inquiry, that British forensic investigation into the lies behind the Iraq War. Conventional D.C. wisdom on why not is that both sides in Washington are so enmeshed in the outcome that the establishment couldn't bear the shared shame of the report's scathing conclusion that the war, which killed upwards of 100,000 Iraqis, was "totally unnecessary."

The "Valerie Plame Affair" sits in the middle of that ugly history. It's a keyhole view into a room that never opened.

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