Valerie Plame Wilson sued the CIA yesterday “over its refusal to allow her to publish a memoir that would discuss how long she had worked for the agency.” The CIA contends that her dates of service “remain classified” and that Plame’s publication of such details in her upcoming book “could have serious ramifications” for national security.
The CIA itself, however, has previously publicly and voluntarily disclosed the very information in question. In February 2006, the CIA sent an letter to Wilson that was subsequently entered into the public domain when it was published in the Congressional Record. The letter, though supposedly classified, remains available online from government websites today.
Plame’s suit argues that the CIA cannot unfairly target her as the only person who is not allowed to publish this information:
“Defendants cannot unring the bell by asserting that their documented, authorized and voluntary disclosure was just a mistake,” the suit said.
“There simply is no basis for the CIA to maintain in effect that Valerie Plame is the only person in the world who is not entitled to publish this information,” it said.
As author David Wise explains, “there are, apparently, good secrets and bad secrets, and it may depend in part on who’s telling them.” While the Wilsons are being censored, Wise notes that vocal advocates of Bush’s policies, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and former CIA Director George Tenet, “have discovered that selling their secrets to the public between hard covers can reap big bucks.” For them, he adds, “It’s a slam dunk.”