Valerie Plame Wilson, former CIA officer, criticizes United Way's gun raffle

The United Way of Otero County, New Mexico is holding a raffle as a fundraiser with winners announced twice a week for a year. The prizes are firearms.  And predictably, this has drawn the ire of gun control advocates and the hand wringing of the United Way Worldwide organization.  But one voice speaking out against this effort to raise money for charity is Valerie Plame Wilson, writing in The Huffington Post as a representative of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.

Yes, she’s that Valerie Plame Wilson who was outed as a CIA officer during the George W. Bush administration.  More on that in a little while.  Her concerns are the usual list:  “military assault style weapons,” “military grade Barret m95.50 BMG sniper rifle, designed to kill a person up to a mile away. . . not for killing a rabbit,” “no background check or questions of any kind are required in a personal gun sale.”  This is a reminder that many CIA officers are analysts, not field agents and don’t necessarily know anything about weapons and fighting—yellow cake not withstanding.  The implication here is that Wilson would like to prevent law-abiding Americans from owning a list of guns and insist that we seek permission to exercise gun rights.  The organization that she represents, NMPGV, claims to support the “safe, legal use of guns,” but they don’t like the idea of people carrying guns legally in public.  What neither she nor they acknowledge is that criminals won’t be excessively troubled by these restrictions.

It’s an interesting question to ask how much Wilson’s involvement with The Huffington Post and NMPGV is about promoting her book, Fair Game:  My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House.  As an author, I get that need.  Both Wilson and I have books available on  And perhaps as a resident of New Mexico, she’s decided to get involved in local concerns.  But as someone who had her own rights and security violated, she ought to take care about going after the rights and security of others.

As an employee of one of our clandestine services, Wilson had extra cause for privacy.  Her work dealt with the nation’s secrets and with people who didn’t want their connections to the CIA widely known.  In the same way, I understand the need of presidents and other often targeted politicians to have armed protection.  In both examples, however, security and privacy are rights that agents of the government have only because each one of us have those same rights.  In free societies, we loan power to the government, and that power is only available by virtue of its existence in the people first.

This is especially pointed in the case of our government’s secret activities.  Given the complexity of our world, there will be things that have to be done without broadcasting the doing of them, and these actions require the trust of the public that what’s being done is necessary and right.  That trust is damaged when government employees or apologists seek to deny the origin of the powers they have been loaned.

Wilson’s article is yet another part of the work by advocates of control to curtail gun rights both symbolically and in practice.  What such people fail to understand is that when they attack rights, they lose the moral authority on which government in a free society has to be based.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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