View Full Version : Valerie Plame Vows To Battle Cheney And CIA Over Free Speech

06-02-2007, 06:32 PM
Ex-spy Plame vows to battle CIA over free speech


By Claudia Parsons Sat Jun 2, 2:48 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An ex-spy whose unmasking led to the conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide vowed on Saturday to press on with lawsuits against Cheney and the CIA for the sake of freedom of speech.

"Just as we have to be vigilant to protect our national security -- something I believe in passionately -- we have to be vigilant to protect our freedom of speech and First Amendment rights," Valerie Plame Wilson said in a speech at a book convention.

Plame and her publisher, Simon & Schuster, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York on Thursday against top CIA officials for blocking publication of her memoir on national security grounds.

Plame's cover as a CIA agent was blown when her identity was leaked to reporters and appeared in a newspaper column in July 2003, shortly after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, emerged as an
Iraq war critic.

Plame said she had no intention of endangering national security with the book but was entitled to tell her story.

"This has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with political influence and manipulation," Plame said of the CIA's demand that she not discuss her service before 2002.

The CIA has argued her book could hurt operations and affect its ability to conduct intelligence activities in the future.

"I'm not seeking carte blanche to reveal all the details of my government service," Plame said.

The book, "Fair Game," is set to be published on October 21.

The leaking of Plame's identity prompted an investigation to determine if government officials had broken any laws.

Nobody was charged with blowing her cover, but Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, was found guilty in March of lying and obstructing the investigation. He is due to be sentenced on Tuesday and faces up to three years in prison.

Evidence at Libby's trial showed he and several other White House and State Department officials leaked her identity to discredit her husband, who had accused the administration of twisting intelligence to build a case for invading Iraq.

Plame has since filed a lawsuit against Cheney and other top administration officials, seeking money damages for violating the couple's constitutional free speech, due process and privacy rights.

She said initially she was reluctant to sue, but did so for three reasons.

"The first one is to get the truth," she told the audience of publishers and booksellers in New York who gave her a standing ovation even before she spoke.

"Secondly, to hold our government officials to account for their words and their deeds ... Finally it's to prevent future abuses."

"We are living in very troubled times and it's imperative that we all understand what our rights are and understand when we are being trampled on," she said later, answering a question from the audience.

Plame said she expected a judge to rule by the end of the summer on a motion by Cheney to dismiss the suit.

All publications by current and former CIA agents must be approved by a review board, which says its only objective is to prevent classified material from being released to the public.

Simon & Schuster is a unit of CBS Corp.