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Monday, August 01, 2005

The Infirm Firm

While following the Valerie Plame story the past year, I kind of understand how/where/when/why she might have got outed as a CIA covert employee, not necessarily all the details but that something in fact did happen and likely happened for political purposes. But given that, for the life of me, I can't figure out why the corporation that acted as a front for a CIA covert operation got "outed" as well, and how everyone seems to understand their modus operandi without divulging who gave up those secrets. Apparently, Valerie Plame worked for a company called Brewster-Jennings & Associates which to the best of my understanding, Robert Novak also outed, inadvertently or not at the same time.
"Wilson's wife, the CIA employee, gave $1,000 to Gore and she listed herself as an employee of Brewster-Jennings & Associates"
or maybe some other reporters did it:
But in The Nation, David Corn wrote that Plame was "known to friends as an energy analyst for a private firm." The name of that firm came out later -- when reporters found that Plame had contributed to Al Gore's presidential primary campaign and had filled out a form identifying herself as an employee of Brewster-Jennings & Associates, which was quickly revealed to be a flimsy CIA front company.
The first I remember hearing about it, Michael Ruppert wrote this:
Not only was Plame's cover blown, so was that of her cover company, Brewster, Jennings & Associates. With the public exposure of Plame, intelligence agencies all over the world started searching data bases for any references to her (TIME Magazine). Damage control was immediate, as the CIA asserted that her mission had been connected to weapons of mass destruction.

However, it was not long before stories from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal tied Brewster, Jennings & Associates to energy, oil and the Saudi-owned Arabian American Oil Company, or ARAMCO. Brewster Jennings had been a founder of Mobil Oil company, one of Aramco's principal founders.
So the front operation either
  1. Did intelligence work on WMD's
  2. Did intelligence work on Saudi oil assets
Now, namesake Brewster Jennings has long since passed away (try early last century), so the oil connection may result from a knee-jerk word association by Ruppert. Conspiracy theorists do that all the time to build up an argument.

Still, how in the heck did the leak of any one of these two possibilities transpire? Or does anyone even believe that either job description merits any worth, and may actually provide cover for some other cover. For example, why would the CIA ever annnounce that it involved WMD's?

I have started to think the actual deep operation involved investigating Plain-Old Peak Oil, contrary to my previous thoughts on an elaborate Aram-con. An oil depletion investigation can survive any kind of outing, as it only involves a bunch of academics, industry-types, and assorted internet junkies recognizable by their fancy blovatars....... So here goes..... Hey CIA! Welcome aboard covert energy analysts! Don't be shy and visit the links on the right of the page!


Professor Blogger monkeygrinder said...

I think you are correct that Michael Ruppert may have pulled the Oil connection out of thin air - but he is actually a fairly straigtforward reporter. It doesn't matter though.

The basic reason Brewster Jennings was sunk once Valerie Plame's name was revealed has nothing to do with what it was covering for or doing. And reporting after the fact is irrelevant as well, and possibly misinformation.

Any country that had Valerie Plame visit on behalf of her company would simply unroll her, all of her associates, all of her activites, and put it in the framework of intelligence gathering. In turn, any assets (human or otherwise) that Plame or any of her coworkers contacted while on foreign soil would be scrutinized, and woe betide those caught trafficking information, say, in Saudi Arabia. (kerchunk).

Brewster Jennings had a working cover, and covert goals.

So it could be that B.J. worked as energy consultants, for (wild ass guess) nuclear concerns around the world, and had the covert goal of (wild ass guess) tracking nuclear material at the source. Thus, WMD's. Not necessarily glitzy work.

But the details are unknown to those of us living in the real world.

thank goodness.

Meanwhile, to an intelligence organization, a loss of a well established front company is a serious blow.

That Bush has not fired Rove, Libby, and even Cheney shows that he is utterly corrupted and views treason kindly if done by cronies.

8:48 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

You would think though that she would use an alias company, not Brewster-Jennings, on her tax forms and other public documents. That way, this other alias company, which didn't do anything, would have its cover blown, instead of the covert B-J. Just one more level of indirection in secrecy.

And of course, you are right, in the fact that people that she worked with on a covert basis may realize that B-J was just a sham. But someone in that case would have had to cry to the media that it was undercover and would have had to name it as such.

10:43 AM  
Professor Blogger monkeygrinder said...

I'm not sure why there weren't extra layers of obfuscation.

Maybe it is just that adding layers of security can be a rat hole for resources, and adds complexity with diminishing returns.

9:17 PM  

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