Monday, October 14, 2013
Valerie Plame on the NSA spying
Last week, Valerie Plame appeared on Erin Burnett Outfront (CNN).
BURNETT: Now, awarding the NSA leaker. Edward Snowden, the man responsible for leaking top secret U.S. intelligence is actually being honored by four Americans who used to work for the U.S. government. They met Snowden in Moscow where he has been hiding since August to give him the Sam Adams Award for integrity in intelligence.
Now, this came as his father arrived in Moscow to see his son for the first time since this happened, saying his son is trying to look for a job.
OUTFRONT tonight, former covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. You will recall her cover was blown in 2003 at that time by a member of the Bush administration and she is now the author of a new book called "Blowback."
All right. Good to have you with us, Valerie. I really appreciate it.
Do you think Edward Snowden -- I mean, I'll cut straight to it. A lot of people hear this, they're probably cheering for him. And some are just appalled. Does he have -- deserve an award for integrity in intelligence?
VALERIE PLAME, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: One thing as we know for certain, we would not even be having this conversation about the appropriate balance of security versus privacy if it were not for Snowden's revelations. And President Obama had spoken about the need to have a really robust conversation about this, because it goes right to the heart of the Fourth Amendment.
I think ultimately history will tell exactly where Ed Snowden falls on that line.
BURNETT: All right. And so you've said that U.S. citizens owed him -- at one point, you said a thank you for bringing the NSA policies into the public eye, which, you know, it's something that has changed the conversation in this country about who is watching what that do you in your e-mail and your phone conversations. But a lot of intelligence official, and people who serve in the government, think that Snowden is a criminal and I wanted to play for you some of the names you're going to know the best.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I think he is a traitor. I think he has committed crimes in fact by violating the agreements, given the position he had.
JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: For me, it is literally -- not figuratively -- literally gut wrenching to see this happen, because of the huge grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NSA AND CIA: I can't imagine a government anywhere on the planet who now believes we can keep a secret.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BURNETT: Should he go to jail? Val, do you think he should go to jail, Edward Snowden?
PLAME: I think the irony of having Dick Cheney talk about a traitor is really too rich. What is very clear is that as a stand, the whistle blower protections are not adequate. Thomas Drake was one of those who gave the award. He is a former NSA employee who pointed out tremendous waste and mismanagement of funds. For that, the FBI came in and tossed his house and he has lost his job and so forth.
This is a really important conversation that we need to have about just how deep the NSA invasion goes into U.S. citizens' lives.
BURNETT: And before we go, you were in the CIA for 20 years. Obviously, the government blew your cover. I understand where you're coming from, right? Your point and some of the frustration you feel.
But a lot of people say that Snowden has blown the cover of a lot of people like you. They say he's put lives at risk. Someone said he was the biggest threat to Western intelligence in the history of Western intelligence.
Is that all hyperbole? Or is it possible that Edward Snowden actually is risking people's lives?
PLAME: I don't actually know. But what I do know is I don't know how much he put into jeopardy, and what happened with me and how my cover was betrayed is not analogous. I think people expect me to say, oh, absolutely what he did was to be condemned.
I am much more interested, much less in Snowden than what is at play here and what is the right balance that we need to have as a democracy? How much as citizens are we willing to give up in our terms of our privacy to be told by our political leaders that don't worry, we're keeping you safe.
BURNETT: All right. Valerie Plame, thank you very much. We appreciate it. As we said, you can get Valerie's new book now.
And before some CNN friends start calling, the video? It's your own damn fault. I spent an hour this morning on the phone with one friend at CNN who told me he could talk me through posting it. No. He couldn't. He said he didn't know what the hell had happened. Nor do I. But if CNN doesn't want to be mocked on YouTube, they need to put their own videos out there. They allow themselves to be a joke. Again, I wasted an hour this morning of my time -- not happy about that -- trying to embed the video from CNN. No luck repeatedly. So we're using the one that, on YouTube, calls Erin a "MSM Presstitute." That's not my fault. CNN needs to get its act together.
Valerie Plame was the CIA agent outed by Scooter Libby (on the orders of Dick Cheney). Why was she outed? Because her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, called out the Bully Boy Bush lie about Iraq seeking yellow cake uranium from Africa.
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erin burnett outfront