Former CIA agent Valerie Plame‘s book deal followed a torturous path; first she was signed up by Crown last May, but contract issues – namely, nervousness that Plame wouldn’t be allowed by the CIA to talk about the juiciest details – canned the deal, and Plame eventually landed at original underbidder Simon & Schuster. And there the story ended…until now.
Newsweek reports that the CIA Publications Review Board, which must clear writings by former employees, has effectively blocked her from even mentioning that she worked for the CIA because she served as a “nonofficial cover” officer (or NOC) posing as a private businesswoman, according to an adviser to Plame, who asked not to be identified discussing a sensitive issue. “She believes this will effectively gut the book,” said the adviser. Plame has hired a lawyer to challenge the Review Board’s ruling, and CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said the panel was still having “ongoing” talks to resolve the dispute.
In other words, Plame’s book deal has come full circle, and publication plans by S&S may be scuttled for the exact same reasons Crown declined to publish. Which leaves two questions: what took so long for the CIA to make its decision, and how did S&S think that the ruling – no matter how long it took – would go in Plame’s favor?