Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Valerie Plame


William Nordeen
William Nordeen
On her first tour in Athens, Greece, she found herself trying to blend in. This meant drinking copious amounts of coffee, and even more chain-smoking, and sitting for hours in a smoke-filled cafe. The CIA was working to neutralize the terrorist group 17 November which had killed U.S. Embassy naval attaché Captain William Nordeen a year before Plame had come to Greece.

During the day, she had to work her "cover" job, at the U.S. Embassy, and then at night to go trolling for new contacts and possible agents at bars. When she wasn't passing out her cover business card, and collecting possibilities in return, she would be reading incoming cables, and writing up reports for headquarters. It was literally a double life.

After Greece, she returned to headquarters at Langley, Va., for a brief stint. She was sent from there to the London School of Economics and the College of Europe in Belgium, where she garnered masters degrees in International Affairs and European Studies.

Shortly thereafter, she was sent undercover as a "NOC," an operative under non-official cover, meaning she would not have the protection of diplomatic immunity if she were discovered, as she had enjoyed working at the U.S. embassy in Greece. The CIA had, in fact, invested much time and money training Plame to work covertly for the U.S. government.

In 1996, she assumed the identity as an energy executive. Those who met her would get a business card stating that she was "Vice President, International," for a front company, Brewster Jennings & Associates. It was likely this card that she handed to Wilson when they first met.

During this tour, she was on the lookout for agents and information to counter terrorism, and the proliferation of nuclear and biological weapons.

When she returned to the states she worked in the Counterproliferation Division.

In many ways, Plame had been fighting the "War on Terror," long before George W. Bush entered office, which made her exposure by her own government all the more cruelly ironic.

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