Plame's Book Faults Bush, Journalists

The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 17, 2007; 6:00 PM

WASHINGTON -- Four years after her CIA cover was blown in a newspaper column, Valerie Plame is settling scores with the Bush administration, Republican lawmakers and the journalists involved in the White House leak scandal.

Plame writes about the leak, the fallout and the perjury trial of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in her memoir, "Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House." The book is to be released Tuesday.

She offers harsh words for President Bush, whom she assails for administration "arrogance and intolerance." She also said criticism of her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a "dress rehearsal" for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth effort that impugned Sen. John Kerry's war record during his failed presidential campaign in 2004.

"It was classic Karl Rove: go after your enemy's strong point," Plame writes, saying Bush's former political adviser was behind both efforts. "In Joe's case it was that he told the truth; in Kerry's case, it was his exemplary military service."

Plame often casts herself as a spectator to the scandal. She discusses being uncomfortable in the limelight, even as she poses for magazine photographs, attends posh Washington fundraisers and is whisked backstage at a rock concert as her husband becomes one of the Iraq war's most public critics.

She describes arriving home one day to find Vanity Fair photographers in her kitchen preparing a photo for the magazine's cover.

"I did not listen to my instincts and threw my extreme caution about public exposure to the wind," she wrote. "In no time, the beauty team had me made up."

Plame began attracting attention after syndicated columnist Robert Novak revealed her identity in 2003 in a story about Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger.

"I felt like I had been sucker-punched, hard, in the gut," Plame said, recalling reading Novak's column.

Wilson said the Niger trip debunked some prewar intelligence about Iraq's nuclear ambitions, yet the intelligence still found its way into Bush's State of the Union address that year. Plame believes she was outed as retribution for her husband's comments.

Numerous behind-the-scenes details of the leak surfaced at Libby's trial and Plame cannot fill in many blanks. At least four Bush administration officials discussed Plame's identity with reporters _ Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, Rove and Libby _ but have said little about it publicly.

Libby is the only person charged in the case and was convicted not of leaking but of lying and obstructing the probe. Plame recalls that her husband had convinced himself Rove would be charged and she writes of being "puzzled and angry" upon learning he wouldn't be.

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