Former CIA officers criticize GOP for Plame spin

Hey, it's not just any desk job. We're undercover!

Published July 22, 2005 1:41PM (EDT)

Watch whom you dub just a desk jockey.

Eleven former CIA officers have circulated a letter to Congress criticizing Republicans for their attempts to spin the Valerie Plame affair.

"The disclosure of Ms. Plame's name was a shameful event in American history and, in our professional judgment, may have damaged U.S. national security and poses a threat to the ability of U.S. intelligence gathering using human sources," they write. (The full text is available here.)

The former spies' main beef: The GOP insinuation that because Plame worked at a desk job in Washington, she didn't need or deserve protection. "These comments reveal an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover," the letter says. "The fact is that there are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who 'work at a desk' in the Washington, D.C. area every day who are undercover. Some have official cover, and some have non-official cover. Both classes of cover must and should be protected."

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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