How did the White House learn the name of Valerie Plame?

A reader points out that Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker piece on the intelligence process leading to the invasion of Iraq offers a hint about how it came to be that “two top White House officials” knew the workname of a covert CIA officer: the White House had, for other reasons, already broken down the walls that used to keep raw intelligence, and the sources and methods used to gather it, within the intelligence community:

Eventually, Thielmann said, Bolton demanded that he and his staff have

direct electronic access to sensitive intelligence, such as foreign-agent

reports and electronic intercepts. In previous Administrations, such

data had been made available to under-secretaries only after it was analyzed,

usually in the specially secured offices of INR. The whole point of

the intelligence system in place, according to Thielmann, was “to prevent

raw intelligence from getting to people who would be misled.” Bolton,

however, wanted his aides to receive and assign intelligence analyses

and assessments using the raw data. In essence, the under-secretary would

be running his own intelligence operation, without any guidance or support.

“He surrounded himself with a hand-chosen group of loyalists, and found

a way to get C.I.A. information directly,” Thielmann said.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: