Friday, March 16, 2007

Valerie Plame, Highly Trained Covert Agent

I heard a report on the testimony of Valerie Plame Wilson that she was asked about being tailed while going to work at CIA Headquarters at Langley, and she replied that in the CIA you are trained to lose anyone tailing you.

I was aghast to hear such lying by omission. I served as a Russian linguist in the Air Force Security Service, and the first security lesson we learned was that the enemy was not as dumb as we thought. We could think we were very clever and could easily outsmart them, but they knew where we worked and just watched our comings and goings.

As an example, I attended classes on Soviet missile test range activities at the National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade, Maryland in 1964. Our security briefing made it very clear that the Soviets already knew who we were, and had a good idea of why we were at NSA.

Did the Soviets assign an “Ivan Bondsky” agent to track us? No. Identifying and tracking us was low-level clerk work.

First, after completion of Basic Training the Air Force sent Russian language trainees to either the University of Syracuse or to Indiana University. At both Syracuse and Indiana the Air Force had faculty, classrooms, and dormitories separate from the university, and Air Force language students attended classes in uniform. For those unfamiliar with military uniforms, a group which now includes most Americans, I would like to point out that each of us, when in uniform, wore a name tag prominently displayed over a breast pocket.

Since Russian language school lasted nine months, even the dumbest, laziest Soviet spy-clerk had plenty of time to identify us all.

If, after we were in language school for nine months, the Soviets still were unsure what we were up to, our next assignment may have helped clear up any confusion. We were all sent to the United States Air Force Security Service Headquarters at Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas, for three months of Radio Intercept School.

Of course the Soviets didn't know that Goodfellow AFB was a communications intelligence base, right?

From Goodfellow most Russian linguists were sent to work at bases in England, Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, and Alaska. However, as I previously mentioned, some of us were sent to NSA for specialized training in intercepting Soviet missile test activities. After NSA we were sent to one of four bases – Karamürsel, Trabzon, and Samsun, Turkey; or Peshawar, Pakistan.

Since the Air Force chose these four sites because of proximity to the Soviet missile test ranges, we might credit the Soviets with enough intelligence to figure out why we were there too, mightn't we?

Maybe the Soviets were also smart enough to notice that we used both HF (high frequency) and VHF (very high frequency) antennas. Since aircraft used VHF instead of HF, they probably figured out that a bunch of Air Force Russian language specialists were interested in more than just aircraft movement. What Soviet activity was conducted on HF?

Of interest to the United States Air Force, only the missile test ranges.

Of course, we never told our wives and families anything about what we were doing. They were surprised many years later when we were finally “cold” for intelligence purposes to find out the details of our jobs. They knew all along that our assignment was to intercept Soviet radio communications, because our unclassified job title was Russian Language Intercept and Analysis Specialist. However, for over a decade, only those of us with specialized missile net training, and the Soviets of course, knew we were intercepting test missile developments.

So it is with Valerie Plame, “covert” agent. Only an idiot or a Democrat would think the “enemy” didn’t know she once was, but no longer is, a covert agent.

For those with limited abilities, let us run through it in simple terms. To aid your comprehension, I’ll type very slowly.

A woman is seen going to work daily at CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia. As is the standard practice, her identification is determined by tracing back from her automobile license plate and other bits of public information.

“It seems that she worked overseas for several years.”

“Interesting, isn’t it, that she now works at the CIA?”

“I wonder who she was working for in her overseas jobs before she started working at the CIA?” puzzles the simple agent of an unidentified foreign intelligence service.

“I see in Who’s Who that she is married to a former ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe, Joseph C. Wilson 4th.”

“I see that over ten years ago the CIA inadvertently gave the Cubans access to her identity. I wonder if Cuba told the Russians?”

“No, of course not. The CIA knows the Cubans and Russians are too stupid to trace Ms. Plame to where she worked then and after, and who she worked with and for.”

“It’s always good to have stupid enemies.”

“The motto of the Clinton administration: ‘Never overestimate the intelligence of your enemy.’”

“Lucky for the CIA and Ms. Plame that they taught her how to avoid being tailed to work.”

“I see she also notes that not everyone on the Georgetown cocktail circuit knew she was a covert agent.”

“I’ll drink to that.”

”для здарове, товариш!”

“çok güzel!”

“Bueno!”

“Proshai!”

“ 好运气!”



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1 comment:

burl dobbins said...

USAFSS 20250. S/SGT. 59 -63. Actually the Russians could care less about us peons. I suppose the CIA had different training than us so I wouldn't prejudge. Plame was victimized by politics of her own country - very sad.