July 14, 2005

CIA Agent? Let's get the terminology straight...

Valerie Plame Wilson - CIA Agent?

How many times in the last few months, years even, have we seen media reports about the revelation of a CIA agent's name? It is against the law to knowingly reveal the name of undercover intelligence personnel and assets, be they CIA, Department of Defense or other intelligence agency. Mrs. Wilson may have fallen into that category, but is she a CIA agent?

No, she is not.

Let's get the terminology straight. Mrs. Wilson is a CIA officer, a civil servant, a civilian employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. She is not an agent.

So what is the difference? An agent is someone, usually a foreign national, recruited by American intelligence officers, sometimes called "case officers," to work on behalf of the United States. These are the true spies, they are most often betraying their own countries for the benefit of the United States.

Once again, Mrs. Wilson is not a CIA agent, she is not a spy - she is an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency.