CBS confirms 2006 Raw Story scoop: Plame's job was to keep nukes from Iran
CBS News has confirmed, in advance of a 60 Minutes interview with outed CIA agent Valerie Plame to be run this Sunday, that Plame "was involved in operations to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons."
"Our mission was to make sure that the bad guys, basically, did not get nuclear weapons," Plame told 60 Minutes. Plame also indicated that her outing in 2003 had caused grave damage to CIA operations, saying, "All the intelligence services in the world were running my name through their databases" to see where she had gone and who she had met with.
RAW STORY first revealed Plame's Iran mission and the damage done to CIA operations by her outing in a February 13, 2006 story by Raw investigative editor Larisa Alexandrovna, titled "Outed CIA officer was working on Iran, intelligence sources say." In that article, Alexandrovna wrote:
According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.
Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame's work. Their accounts suggest that Plame's outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran's burgeoning nuclear program. ...
Intelligence sources would not identify the specifics of Plame's work. They did, however, tell RAW STORY that her outing resulted in "severe" damage to her team and significantly hampered the CIA's ability to monitor nuclear proliferation. ...
Three intelligence officers confirmed that other CIA non-official cover officers were compromised, but did not indicate the number of people operating under non-official cover that were affected or the way in which these individuals were impaired. None of the sources would say whether there were American or foreign casualties as a result of the leak.
A few months following Alexandrovna's groundbreaking revelations, MSNBC's David Shuster reported that he had also been told by his own sources of Plame's involvement in an Iran operation and the damage done by her outing.
CBS states further that Plame "was involved in one highly classified mission to deliver fake nuclear weapons blueprints to Tehran. It was called Operation Merlin, and it was first revealed in a book by investigative reporter James Risen."
Risen's book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, was published in October 2006, eight months after Alexandrovna's initial reporting. Risen discussed Project Merlin in the book but did not mention that Plame had been part of it.
Reached on Saturday morning, Alexandrovna said she had known of Project Merlin when she wrote her 2006 article but was not allowed to discuss the operation, as per her agreement with sources, just the country involved. "I cannot confirm or deny that Plame was connected with Project Merlin, only that I was aware of it," Alexandrovna told Raw.
The following video is from CBS's Evening News, broadcast on October 19, 2007.