“Valerie Flame”: mistake, or precaution?

Judith Miller wrote down Valerie Plame Wilson’s name twice in her notes, getting it wrong both times in different ways. Accident? Or a sensible way to handle classified information in a notebook that might be lost or stolen?

Doesn’t it seem odd that Judith Miller would get Valerie Plame Wilson’s name wrong twice in her notebook? Once as “Valerie Flame,” once as “Victoria Wilson.”

Of course, that’s exactly the sort of thing a careful reporter (with a security clearance from her “embed” service) might do when writing down in her notebook something she knew to be highly classified: write down enough to remind herself of the name, but not enough to reveal it to someone who might see the notebook if it were lost or stolen.

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: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com