A few days ago I wrote about the potential ripple effect of exposing Valerie Plame. You go back and see what companies she worked for, who her associates were, where she traveled and so forth, and you probably unravel a lot — stuff that probably leads to the exposure of other agents and operations.
The Washington Post today has one example: the apparent CIA front company that Plame listed as her employer, Brewster-Jennings & Associates.
People are noting that the company’s name made the rounds yesterday after Bob Novak mentioned it on TV, in apparent attempt to discredit Plame as a Democratic partisan.
I’ve avoided the rush of Novak-bashing that’s swirled around this story. But his stance as a journalist simply trying to report out a story is being rapidly and severely diminished by his desperate effort to advance the agenda of those who leaked to him in the first place, i.e., to smear and discredit the Wilsons. (It’s also being diminished by his far from credible efforts to exonerate the leakers by again and again revising what he’s said on the subject.)
The truth, however, is that Novak’s televised mention of Plame’s ’employer’ is a non-issue — at least in terms of doing further damage.
The damage was done on July 14th when he first mentioned her name.
The point here is what foreign intelligence agencies (and to a lesser extent transnational corporations and perhaps terrorist groups) are able to find out. And you can rest assured that from the moment she was fingered as a CIA agent in a prominent nationally-syndicated newspaper column, all of them ran her name to map out her lists of associations and activities.
Information which was readily available on the Internet in a public database like the FEC’s would have popped up really quickly.
So Novak didn’t do any real damage yesterday — but that’s largely because there wasn’t much damage left to do after his original disclosure.