A former CIA agent whose identity was exposed during the George W. Bush administration has announced she is considering running for the US Senate in New Mexico.
Valerie Plame told the Washington Examiner last week that she would “like another opportunity to serve my country,” and will be running as a Democrat. The ex-spy is best known for her part in what is known as the “Plame Affair,” in which White House officials broke a law prohibiting the disclosure of the identities of covert CIA officers and leaked her identity to the press. She has since become an author and public speaker.
But critics have raised questions about an anti-Semitic article she shared on Twitter in September 2017. The article, titled “America's Jews Are Driving America's Wars,” was published by the UNZ Review. The article claimed American Jews in senior policy making positions should recuse themselves from involvement in policy pertaining to the Middle East. The piece suggested Jews should be labeled during media interviews as “kind-of-like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison.”
Plame initially defended her action, reportedly tweeting, “First of all, calm down. Re-tweets don't imply endorsement. Yes, very provocative, but thoughtful. Many neocon hawks ARE Jewish.” After a number of tweets defending the initial tweet, she apologized, saying she “skimmed” the piece “and shared it without seeing and considering the rest.” Plame has shared at least eight articles from UNZ Review since 2014.
Gov. Appoints State Police Chief
Last week Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed a veteran officer to be the New Mexico State Police Chief.
Lujan Grisham announced the appointment of Tim Johnson as the head of the state police agency and three new deputy chiefs last Friday. Johnson will be replacing former Chief Pete Kassetas, who was accused of discriminatory behavior in a lawsuit settled last year, according to the Associated Press. Kassetas retired last year when former governor Susana Martinez left office, leaving the state without a police chief for four months.
Johnson and the governor say there will be no room for discriminatory practices under the new leadership, and Lujan Grisham has expressed a desire to see more female officers hired in the coming years. She also told reporters she expects increased accountability from the new team of leaders. “And if there’s a serious failing, I want it addressed immediately,” the governor said.
Johnson joined the New Mexico State Police nearly two decades ago and was recently responsible for overseeing criminal investigations. The three new deputy chiefs include the agency’s first female deputy chief, Carolyn Huynh, Deputy Chief Nick Aragon and Deputy Chief Robert Thornton III. All three have been with the agency for over a decade.
NMSU Raises Tuition
Last week the New Mexico State University Board of Regents approved a 6 percent tuition increase for the 2019-2020 academic year, citing a decrease in out-of-pocket expenses for students.
According to an NMSU press release, increases in scholarships and tuition discounts have brought down the average out-of-pocket costs for more than 90 percent of NMSU students. University leaders are taking advantage of the relief by increasing tuition fees.
The Associated Press reports that NMSU is facing budget shortfalls largely due to low enrollment. The university saw a 4 percent decrease in enrollment compared to last year, which saw a 2.4 percent decrease from the year before. Regents increased intuition by 3.5 percent last year.