Thursday, April 3, 2008

Fair Game

I just finished reading the Valerie Plame Wilson memoir Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House.

Now, I like to think that as I'm getting older I've gotten pretty good about being open minded--I'm willing to listen to all sides of an argument, and in the end, I may not agree with you, but I try to look at both sides of the issue before making up my mind. I think it's important to be fair even when it's not popular (I've learned that one the hard way). So my little disclaimer is that I am a big opponent to the Bush Administration--I'm still working on figuring out the mentality of people who still have "W 2004" bumper stickers...I just don't think it's something to brag about. I won't go so far to call myself a democrat, I'm not a huge fan of a lot of them either and I'm not a straight ticket voter. But, I really really despise Bush, and especially Cheney. I also recognize that a book by Valerie Plame Wilson about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson is bound to biased. But even assuming you took this book with a large grain of salt and only believed...say, half...of what she writes, it should really scare you about the powers and liberties the executive branch in general, and the Bush administration specifically, have taken. And it just fed my already highly developed "creeped outedness" about Cheney.

The incredibly interesting thing about this book is the "redacting". Since Valerie Wilson was an employee of the CIA, she was required to submit her manuscript to them for redacting prior to publication. Here's the absurd part: We all know who Valerie Wilson is. We all know who she worked for. But apparently that's still technically classified, so she is not allowed to talk about it. The CIA (or White House, if you're wearing your tin foil hat today) refuses to declassify it. and I can talk about it, but she can't. As a result, huge chunks of the manuscript were blacked out by the CIA. She and her publisher made the choice of publishing the book as is---with gray bars in place of the redacted text. That leaves big pieces of the story missing. Then the publisher hired a journalist to write an "afterward". The Afterward covers just about everything that's been blacked out in Valerie's text (because, even though it's "classified" it's mostly public domain now and the journalist was able to find the information else where and site her sources for the information).

Anyways...well worth the read. She does a resonable job of showing both sides of the story. She may have a tone of outrage about it, but she does quote news sources that contradict her story, so you do get some of that.

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