In an action movie-esque election ad, former CIA operative Valerie Plame drives a sports car down an empty dirt road while images of the CIA emblem, U.S. President Donald Trump and former president George Bush fill the screen.
The video marked her first campaign ad in her run as a Democrat for Congress. Released on Monday, it immediately generated headlines in several U.S. news outlets as well as lots of commentary on Twitter.
In her campaign biography, Plame describes herself as a former “covert CIA operations officer who worked to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons” and whose undercover identity was “betrayed by senior officials in the Bush White House to advance their partisan agenda around the Iraq War.”
She speaks plainly in the ad: “Dick Cheney’s chief of staff took revenge against my husband and leaked my identity. His name? Scooter Libby.”
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“Guess who pardoned him last year,” her voice says as Trump’s face flashes across the screen.
In 2018, Trump granted a pardon for Lewis “Scooter” Libby. The former Cheney aide had been previously convicted of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice following the 2003 leak of the identity of CIA officer Plame after her husband had criticized the Iraq war.
“And Mr. President? I’ve got a few scores to settle,” Plame says with a smile as the clip ends.
Getting out of her sports car and strutting over to the camera, Plame’s voice plays over the scene, chuckling: “Yes, the CIA really does teach us how to drive like this.”
Plame is one of around six people running for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District seat. The district’s current lawmaker, Ben Ray Lujan, is making a U.S. Senate bid.
In 2017, she made headlines when she launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy controlling shares in Twitter and ban Trump from the platform.
While working undercover for the CIA, Plame recommended that the Bush administration send her then-husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, to Niger to probe allegations that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had sought to buy uranium to produce weapons of mass destruction.
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Later, Wilson published an op-ed in The New York Times that raised doubts about the Bush administration’s rationale behind the war in Iraq.
Libby told journalists in private briefings that Plame was the person who had recommended Wilson for the trip, which led to her cover being blown.
Plame left the CIA in 2005.
— With files by Reuters and The Associated Press