Thursday :: Oct 20, 2005

Treasongate: Valerie Flame, Take 2


by eriposte

In my previous post on this topic, I commented on the appearance of the name "Valerie Flame" in one of Bob Novak's articles as noted by AspTrader at Daily Kos. The fact that Judith Miller used the term "Valerie Flame", just like the term in one of Novak's articles was suggestive. This got me wondering about whether there were other articles out there which use(d) the name "Flame". (Of course, the strange thing about the Novak article was that two versions of the same article differed in how Joseph Wilson's wife's name was published - Plame v. Flame.)

So I went to the nearest public library and did an electronic search (on eLibrary) looking for "Valerie Flame". Two surprising finds ensued.

First, there were more than a handful of articles whose electronic transcripts mention Valerie Flame or Flame, instead of Valerie Plame. And it's not restricted to right-wing authors. More on that below.

Second, and perhaps most surprisingly, many of the same articles are available on the web today and they actually say Valerie Plame or Plame.

Here are a couple of examples.

Of the handful of articles I chose to print out and examine, I found only ONE whose electronic transcript (archives) said Valerie Flame, and whose actual text on the web today also says Valerie Flame. Here is the article and its current link on the web.

Herbert Klein, Washington Times, September 14, 2005 "Why a shield law is needed" (emphasis mine):

Regardless of what happens in the case of the CIA agent, Valerie Flame Wilson, a federal media shield law would be a big step toward protecting the public's right to know.

[Note the date on the article - it is before Judith Miller's testimony got revealed.]

On the other hand, the few remaining articles had a curious discrepancy between the electronic transcripts and their current wording on the web. For example, here is an article by David Corn in the Nation (dated 10/9/2003), where the electronic transcript I dug up said this (emphasis mine):

But when conservative columnist Robert Novak published an article on July 14 citing "senior administration officials" that blew the cover of Valerie Wilson (née Flame), Bush showed no interest in finding out anything about the leak...

Yet, the same article appears on the web as follows (emphasis mine):

But when conservative columnist Robert Novak published an article on July 14 citing "senior administration officials" that blew the cover of Valerie Wilson (née Plame), Bush showed no interest in finding out anything about the leak...

I have a hard time believing David Corn would have gotten Plame's name wrong. And as I said, it's not just David Corn. I see articles by others also showing similar discrepancies. So, was it something weird going on with the way articles get archived or published? I just don't know. (Perhaps experts who are familiar with media operations might be able to shed some light on this.)

That said, Judith Miller having written down "Valerie Flame" is also suggestive since it indicated that her source had this error. Was it a document? Was it someone who had read "Flame" in some document? It appears that's a mystery for Patrick Fitzgerald to solve.

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