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Valerie plame does vanity fair spread { December 3 2003 }

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   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29782-2003Dec2.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29782-2003Dec2.html

CIA Agent Valerie Plame Goes Undercover In Vanity Fair

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 3, 2003; Page C01


Former ambassador Joseph Wilson has been quite protective of his wife, Valerie Plame, in the weeks since her cover as a CIA operative was blown.

"My wife has made it very clear that -- she has authorized me to say this -- she would rather chop off her right arm than say anything to the press and she will not allow herself to be photographed," he declared in October on "Meet the Press."

But that was before Vanity Fair came calling.

The January issue features a two-page photo of Wilson and the woman the magazine calls "the most famous female spy in America," a "slim 40-year-old with white-blond hair and a big, bright smile." They are sitting in their Jaguar.

Plame is wearing a scarf and big glasses, which just adds to the aura of mystery. In a second shot on their terrace at the couple's home near Georgetown, she holds a newspaper in front of her face.

"The pictures should not be able to identify her, or are not supposed to," Wilson said yesterday. "She's still not going to answer any questions and there will not be any pictures that compromise her." The reason, said Wilson, is that "she's still employed" by the CIA "and has obligations to her employer."

Plame may be the most well-known figure in a modern Washington scandal whose face is unknown. The Justice Department is now investigating which senior administration officials leaked Plame's CIA role to columnist Robert Novak after Wilson began debunking President Bush's State of the Union claim that Iraq had tried to buy "yellowcake" uranium from Niger.

Ron Beinner, a contributing photography producer at Vanity Fair, said Plame was not originally scheduled to participate in the Nov. 8 shoot, but agreed to join her husband once "she felt suitably disguised."

It's not that Plame has dropped out of sight. In October, as Vanity Fair notes, she was at the National Press Club -- wearing a "sharp cream pantsuit" -- while her husband received a truth-telling award. Wilson wept from the podium, saying, "If I could give you back your anonymity . . ." and then introduced Plame, who also teared up.

Plame also mingled unobtrusively last month at a party at the home of The Washington Post's Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn. But there has been an invisible bubble around her as reporters have respected the desire of "Jane Bond," as Wilson calls her, to remain in the Washington shadows.

Plame talked to Vanity Fair writer Vicky Ward on a not-for-attribution basis, and the only direct quote was "It's such a mess," referring to her under-renovation kitchen as she fussed over their 3-year-old twins. But the article contains such passages as: "Plame herself instantly thought that the leak was illegal."

Wilson, who is pursuing a deal for a book that he says will be about more than just "the outing of my wife," said they have had to make compromises to maintain Plame's privacy.

"We are not going into seclusion," he said. "We're not going to hide the fact that we live in this town, we go out to dinner and drive cars and parent our kids." But, Wilson said, they sometimes arrive at events separately or after photographers have left.



2003 The Washington Post Company


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