Who really "outed" Jane Bond?
According to the Washington social columns, big-time Clinton contributor and current Bush-basher, Joseph C. Wilson, is squiring his wife, Valerie Plame, to Washington social events in their red convertible where he drops hints that his wife is “Jane Bond.”
All this brings to mind the hopelessly inaccurate way the elite media cover the entire subject of intelligence gathering. Their careless use of the term “spy” drives this former intelligence officer nuts. So, let’s set the record straight:
A spy is someone who betrays his or her own country by transmitting bits of classified information to the intelligence services of other countries. Thus, the fictional James Bond was never a spy because, through all of the Ian Fleming novels and James Bond movies, he remained steadfastly loyal to Great Britain.
James Bond was an intelligence agent, not a spy. Moreover, James Bond, because of his high-profile life style, had to be the world’s worst intelligence agent. True intelligence agents get their work done without bringing themselves to anyone’s attention – especially, that of the enemy.
But some agents are actually overt. For example, the military attachés serving at our embassies around the world. Their primary mission is to gather intelligence about the military forces in the nations where they are assigned. We invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in their language and cultural training. Plus, the attachés themselves invest a lot of personal funds for all the dress uniforms they need for diplomatic social functions and, in the more primitive countries, for huge stocks of baby formula and other expendable supplies, not locally available.
If one of our attachés is especially effective, the host nation may declare him or her persona non grata, giving the attaché and family only 24 hours to be headed home. Indeed, the personal financial risk for our attachés is so great many of them purchase persona non grata or PNG insurance.
Next are the FBI’s Legal Attachés. Everyone knows their primary function is counterintelligence. They also buy PNG insurance.
Then come intelligence officers who have “official” cover as Foreign Service Officers, i.e., diplomats. Russia, China, Great Britain -- all the major nations -- “cover” their professional intelligence officers in this manner. Their primary mission is to recruit foreign nationals who are willing to betray their county by providing information about the military capabilities and policy intentions of their country.
So far, everyone I’ve have described are what are known as “legals.” Everyone on both sides knows who’s who and what they are supposed to be doing. If they are too effective for the tastes of the host government or if they violate the laws of the host nation, they have “diplomatic immunity” and are protected from incarceration or execution by international treaty or mutual understandings. But they also buy PNG insurance.
Now, we come to the “illegals” -- intelligence officers who enter a foreign country disguised as legitimate businesspersons, tourists, journalists, scientists, you name it. They operate under “deep cover” designed to provide their sponsoring government with “plausible denial.” Sometimes they gather intelligence on their own. But, more often, like their “legal” counterparts, their primary mission is to recruit and operate “spies.”
“Illegals” work at great personal risk. The last thing an “illegal” wants to do is be so overt as a James Bond and get caught. “Illegals” have no protection whatsoever. If they don’t get a bullet in the back of the head, they are, at best, quietly traded for some “illegal” already jailed by their sponsoring nation.
Most CIA employees go to and from CIA Headquarters openly displaying their ID badges on a chain around their neck. The true “undercover” agents never go near the place. And they sure don’t ride around in red convertibles to Washington cocktail parties where their spouses hint they are: “Jane Bond.” So, if anyone has been “outing” Valerie Plame’s supposed involvement with the CIA, it wasn’t columnist, Robert Novak, it was Bill Clinton’s pal, Joe Wilson.
William Hamilton, the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy by William Penn, served three years in the early days of the Cold War working in Europe as an undercover intelligence officer.
©2003. William Hamilton.