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Court won't let Plame reveal her years at CIA

August 04, 2007|Josh Getlin | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- In a setback for Valerie Plame, a federal judge ruled Friday that the former CIA agent cannot divulge the dates she worked for the agency in her forthcoming book, "Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House."

The decision by U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones was a victory for the CIA, which had argued that such information was classified and should not be made public.

Plame was at the heart of a controversial case in which administration officials were accused of leaking news about her covert status in 2003 to several reporters after her husband, former envoy Joseph C. Wilson IV, publicly raised questions about the intelligence used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Simon & Schuster, which is publishing Plame's memoir, said it was "disappointed in the court's ruling, which we believe runs counter to the 1st Amendment, sets a dangerous precedent and creates an unreasonable standard by which the government can disappear public information and rewrite history."

The ruling by Jones came as a result of a lawsuit that the publisher and author had filed in May seeking to bar the CIA from interfering with publication of her memoir.

Plame and Simon & Schuster had argued that the dates of her service before 2002 -- which the CIA was seeking to keep classified -- had already been made public on a federal website and should no longer be considered classified information. The publisher said it still plans to publish the book this fall.

In her ruling, Jones said that "the information at issue was properly classified and has not been officially acknowledged by the CIA." She did acknowledge, however, that it has appeared in the public domain.

josh.getlin@latimes.com

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