Valerie Plame: Carrie Mathieson wouldn't make it in CIA
Former CIA agent Valerie Plame, outed ten years ago, says spies not all unstable sexpots like Carrie
CARRIE MATHISON, the Homeland CIA agent played by Claire Danes, would not make it in the real world, according to Valerie Plame, who was spectacularly outed as a real-life CIA agent ten years ago.
As a blonde, female spy battling a male-dominated organisation, Carrie has been likened to Plame, who made headlines in 2003 when her covert identity was leaked to the Washington Post by high-ranking White House officials. It came days after her husband Joe Wilson, an American ambassador at the time, had accused the White House of manipulating intelligence to make the case for the invasion of Iraq.
Plame found herself at the centre of a scandal that rocked the Bush administration and led to Scooter Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, being given a prison sentence for perjury and obstructing justice.
In an interview with The Times today, she says that in reality characters such as Carrie, James Bond and Jason Bourne would not make it as spies because they do not "work as a team" and instead choose to act as a "lone wolf".
Nor are female spies typically either semi-nude sexpots or mentally unstable, she says. Asked if a person with bipolar disorder could end up being employed by the CIA, Plume says: "I am very sympathetic to mental illness and what it takes to treat it but, no, I don't think that that would be permitted.
"It would come up at some point during your medical check-up. You really don't want to have mentally unstable people dealing with sensitive intelligence and national security work."
Plame, who specialised in nuclear proliferation, also describes the CIA as "the world's biggest dating agency".
She has now published her own spy novel Blowback, starring a female CIA agent, and says she was motivated to write the book by the sexism in other fictional accounts of female agents. "The Bond franchise is obviously a cultural phenomenon in that it celebrated Britishness," she says. "But it really did contribute to the objectification of female spies." ·