Wednesday, May 16, 2012

SPY GAMES

"I can't. I... I can't tell you anything."
-Valerie Plame Fair Game

Superspies
Remember Valerie Plame? A movie was made recently of her story, called Fair Game which took so many liberties with the story and invented so much it was essentially fiction. It bombed at the box office. Good old Valerie Plame, a secret agent so secret she was on the cover of Vanity Fair and in Who's Who listed as a CIA employee. She had already had her cover blown by a mole a decade before, and was working a desk job as an analyst, but the media tried to portray her as Evelyn Salt, super spy.

Someone mentioned her involvement in the attempt to undermine President Bush by Joe Wilson, who went to Niger, asked about yellowcake uranium sales to Iraq, was told they had sold some, then came back to the US and wrote a NYT opinion piece saying the opposite (the 500 tons was found later in Iraq). The press went berserk, they ran story after story and talked about it for most of a year.

And all that with a CIA analyst. Imagine what would happen if a president blew the cover of an actual undercover spy? Imagine if we managed to get a mole into al`Qaeda and the president bragged about it and blew his cover? Wow, how would the press react if that happened? I mean they went nuts with Valerie Plame and she was just an office drone, imagine if someone blew the cover of an actual deep cover spy, especially one working inside al`Qaeda!

Well we don't have to imagine. It happened, and the reaction is... crickets.
Someone in Washington whose boss stood to gain from an election year story about alert intelligence operatives successfully protecting American voters at great personal risk leaked the heroic story to the Associated Press. The AP held the story until Obama administration sources said the CIA operative was safe.

But, it turns out, the mole was not a CIA operative. The Obama administration had nothing to do with the operation and, in fact, didn't even know about it until recently. Somehow such details got lost in all the excited espionage news coverage about the bomb that didn't go off.

The sting was, in reality, an operation by Britain's MI6 intelligence service
Sure, the British are not amused. The British press will probably hammer this because they dislike America more than they like Obama. So far the best coverage of the Obama administration has come from the British press, who have nothing to gain from protecting him. The American press is treating this much the way they have been Fast & Furious: "what's that, again?"

The British government is infuriated that an American president looking to boost his poll numbers outed a British operative. MI6 probably has to restrain their James Bond guys from whipping out the trust old Walther. But the coverage in the American press has been pretty much nonexistent.

See the press went ballistic on the Plame story as a way of protecting Wilson and as a way of attacking President Bush and undermining the war on Terror. There was a special prosecutor, there was a trial, there were endless reports. Sure, the prosecutor knew already that it was Richard Armitage who had leaked the story, but he kept pushing with the trial to find out where the leak came from. It was all show.

And there's nothing to gain from hammering this story, not for the legacy media. All it would do is hurt their favorite candidate and help the Republicans. And they're big fans of the Drum Principle: keep your mouth shut about things that help Republicans even if otherwise you would howl about it. Because the legacy media has gotten the idea over the years that their job isn't to report events and tell facts, but to shape the culture, make the world a better place, and assist good guys while attacking bad guys - as defined politically.

By the way, Fair Game cost $22 million to make and made $9 million in America. Overall worldwide its pulled in $24 million. By every Hollywood definition, that is a abominable failure. But that won't stop films of its kind being made.

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