FRIENDLY FIRE BLOWS COVER: PLANE…FLAMES

…On Friday, Plame, 43, finally offered her inside account, testifying before a congressional committee that she felt like she had been “hit in the gut” when her once-secret identity appeared in the media, and she accused the Bush administration of “recklessly” blowing her cover.

Plame answered lingering questions about her husband’s role in investigating one of the Bush administration’s most alarming prewar claims about Iraq and provided new details on the maneuvering between the White House and the CIA in the run-up to the war.

….’We in the CIA always know we might be exposed by foreign enemies,” Plame said. “It was a terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover.”

Plame said she was at home when she learned her name had been published in a column by Robert Novak. She said her husband threw a copy of the newspaper on the bed and said, “He did it,” meaning Novak had printed her name. “I felt like I had been hit in the gut,” she said.
Plame also said she immediately recognized and was subsequently informed by a superior — that her clandestine career was over.

…”My name and identity were carelessly and recklessly abused by senior officials in the White House and State Department,” Plame testified. “I could no longer perform the work for which I had been highly trained.”

Plame said she had no role in sending her husband on a CIA fact-finding trip to Niger. Wilson said in a newspaper column that his trip debunked the administration’s prewar intelligence that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium from Africa.

“I did not recommend him. I did not suggest him. There was no nepotism involved. I did not have the authority,” she said.

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