New Mexico Gets a Splashy Campaign Ad

The Story:

Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent, now a candidate for a US House seat from New Mexico’s 3d district, has a television ad out that shows off her CIA-trained driving skills and that ends with her saying, “Mr. President, I’ve got a few scores to settle.”

Background:

Plame is one of nine already-declared candidates on the Democratic side of the race for that seat, and she is seeking to stand out from the field by reminding people of a 2003 scandal, the “Plame affair.” Her ad shows Plame driving a car rapidly backwards through a stretch of New Mexico desert, then pulling a quick J-turn, presumably a CIA agent’s learned survival-driving skill.

In the voiceover, Plame reminds people that in the lead-up to the Bush administration’s war on Iraq, she was outed as an agent apparently in revenge for her husband’s public contradiction of one of the justifications for war that the administration was promoting.

An aide to the then Vice President, [Scooter Libby, aide to Dick Cheney] was later convicted of lying to investigators about that leak, and Libby was pardoned in 2018 by the current President, Donald Trump.

The Thing to Know: 

Immediately upon broadcast the ad encountered pushback from fact checkers. The voice over identifies Libby as the source of the leak of her identity as an agent. Actually, Dick Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State, was the source of the leak at the time (as he has acknowledged). Libby apparently did talk to a reporter, Judith Miller, about the weapons of mass destruction Iraq was allegedly developing and may have mentioned Plame in that context, but Miller published no story on the subject. Libby was convicted  — and pardoned — with regard to the cover-up, not the leak itself.

 

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