Valerie Plame Cashes In With Spy-Novel Book Deal, New York Times Sees Only Victory for Feminism

Ka-ching! The New York Times announced with fanfare on Saturday that "outed" CIA agent Valerie Plame is cashing in once again. It keeps getting harder to claim that the whole Plame saga wasn't a bonanza of wealth and fame, but the Plame-loving Times is casting it as a blow for feminism. The female spy is always sexy, emerging from the surf in a bikini. Julie Bosman added: "Who better to roll her eyes at it all than Valerie Plame, the real-life glamorous former CIA operative?"

Air kiss, air kiss. Bosman declines to put a cash figure on Plame's latest book-publishing deal:

Fed up with those popular images of the female secret agent, Ms. Wilson decided to draft her own. Eight years after her cover was blown by the political columnist Robert Novak, she has signed a book deal with Penguin Group USA to write a series of international suspense novels, with a fictional operative, Vanessa Pearson, at the center. Ms. Wilson will write them with Sarah Lovett, a best-selling author of mysteries, who also lives in Santa Fe.

The idea for the books, Ms. Wilson said, “was born out of my frustration and continuing disappointment in how female C.I.A. officers are portrayed in popular culture.”

Of course, she is a sensational figure herself, memorably posing like Grace Kelly in Vanity Fair in 2004, perched in the passenger seat of a Jaguar convertible, wearing a headscarf and large black sunglasses. (Her husband, the former ambassador Joseph Wilson, has called her Jane Bond.)

 If that was the case, then they wouldn't have much of a marriage, would they? At least Bosman listed the other Plame-Wilson cash deals in passing:

She came to this book project with some experience in the publishing industry. In 2006, Ms. Wilson landed a $2.5 million deal with Crown Publishing to publish “Fair Game,” her memoir of her days in the C.I.A. (Her book, along with her husband’s memoir, “The Politics of Truth,” was turned into a film starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.) That deal eventually fell through, and Ms. Wilson moved to Simon & Schuster, whose flagship imprint was then led by David Rosenthal.

Mr. Rosenthal published the book, which was heavily vetted and redacted by the C.I.A. and eventually released with blackened-out passages.

“It was a complicated publication, as you recall,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “Valerie obviously knows the drill.”  

There was no explicit reference to the Bush-Cheney people, but Plame was asked about that by the British press recently:

What would you like to say to Dick Cheney?

Oh, I have nothing to say to him. Or nothing that I could put in a pithy little sentence. I wish. Maybe I’ll think about it later. I find his world view to be so dark. I believe that he has undermined the values that we Americans cherish because of his view of the world and the dangers and how to address those dangers. He’s just wrong but I’m not going to try to convince him otherwise.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis