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Plame Testifies About Her Covert Status

Former CIA operative Valerie Plame told a congressional committee Friday that her career ended when a columnist revealed her identity and that she did not recommend her husband for a trip to Niger. The NewsHour provides extended excerpts of her testimony.

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    Photographers crowded around a congressional hearing witness table this morning, anticipating the arrival of Washington's most talked-about spy in decades.

    Valerie Plame was called by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to describe, for the first time publicly, the impact of having her status as a covert CIA operative revealed in the press.

  • VALERIE PLAME WILSON, Former Covert CIA Officer:

    I felt like I had been hit in the gut. It was over in an instant, and I immediately thought of my family's safety, the agents, the networks that I had worked with.

    And everything goes through your mind in an instant: I could no longer do the work which I had been trained to do. After that, there is no way that you can serve overseas in a covert capacity, and so that career path was terminated.


    It was conservative columnist Robert Novak who, on July 14, 2003, intimated in his column that Plame sent her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, to Africa to investigate a claim that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium from Niger.

    Novak wrote, "Valerie Plame is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me she suggested sending Wilson to Niger to investigate."

    Novak's revelation led to an independent investigation by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, but no one was charged with leaking. Last week, however, a jury convicted Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation.