by Larry C. Johnson (bio below)
I was interviewed today on CNN’s Situation Room about the retirement of Valerie Plame Wilson from the CIA.
Here is the transcript:
WOLF BLITZER: My next guest trained with Valerie Plame back in the 1980s. On her outing he was recently quoted as saying, “At the end of the day, she was betrayed by her own government and they show no signs of remorse.” Larry Johnson is a former CIA officer. He’s joining us now to discuss the outing of Valerie Plame-Wilson and the impact on other CIA officers.
Larry, thanks very much for joining us.
LARRY JOHNSON, FMR. CIA OFFICER: Hi, Wolf. Good to be with you.
BLITZER: Those are very strong words: “At the end of the day, she was betrayed by her own government and they show no signs of remorse.” What exactly do you mean?
JOHNSON: I mean if the president came out and said look, I want the resignations right now of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, he’d be sending a sign that he would not tolerate this kind of behavior. Instead, they’re hiding behind a kind of legalisms we heard when Bill Clinton was president, trying to find what the meaning of is is, trying to find what, you know, the particular legal statute is.
And that shouldn’t be the standard here. Valerie is a very low- key, professional person. One of these days, the American people will have a chance to get to know her. And what they’re going to find is she is not the person that’s been portrayed in the press.
She is low-key, she’s quiet, she’s professional, she’s very smart and they’ll find that the loss of her as an intelligence officer is something that has hurt the American people and our national security.
BLITZER: You probably saw that article that Victoria Toensing wrote in the “Wall Street Journal” in early November, and, among things, Vicki Toensing is a former deputy assistant attorney general during the Reagan administration. “If the CIA truly, truly, truly had wanted Ms. Plame’s identity to be secret, it never would have permitted her spouse to write the op-ed. Did no one at Langley think that her identity could be compromised if her spouse wrote a piece discussing a foreign mission about a volatile political issue that focused on her expertise?”
What do you make of her suggestion that her husband in effect was partially responsible for the outing Valerie Plame-Wilson?
JOHNSON: It is amazing to me that someone with Victoria’s Toensing’s education and experience can be so totally ignorant and incompetent on issues related to intelligence and cover. The fact of the matter is there are lots of other people who are undercover in the CIA who are married to foreign service officers, some of whom have written op-eds.
And just because you do write an op-ed doesn’t mean that you say, therefore, my wife works at the Central Intelligence Agency. So this kind of apologizing for what is really an unconscionable act, I find just totally disgusting and it’s really a discredit upon someone like Victoria Toensing.
BLITZER: Is she under some sort of security concern right now given all the publicity that’s gone out there?
JOHNSON: Yes. There have been very specific threats delivered against Valerie. And unfortunately, she is not going out and seeking the publicity. You know, and it’s natural for the press to want to cover it. And I don’t fault the press for this but it’s something that both her and Joe have to be concerned about because they want to protect their children.
They want to protect themselves and, look, at the end of the day they’re not looking to take a high profile in the public spotlight. Valerie’s not running for a camera right to sit down and say, hey, let me tell you my story.
I hope at some point she decides to come out and sit down in an environment where she can tell her side of it and talk about the damage that’s been done to her. Unfortunately, she’ll never really be able to disclose the damage that has been done to our nation because there’s still secrets that she will keep until her death.
BLITZER: Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer joining us. Thank you, Larry, very much.
JOHNSON: Thanks, Wolf. Thanks for having me.
Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm that helps corporations and governments manage threats posed by terrorism and money laundering. Mr. Johnson, who worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism (as a Deputy Director), is a recognized expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management. Mr. Johnson has analyzed terrorist incidents for a variety of media including the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, ABC’s Nightline, NBC’s Today Show, the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, and the BBC. Mr. Johnson has authored several articles for publications, including Security Management Magazine, the New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. He has lectured on terrorism and aviation security around the world. Further bio details.