NOC, NOC. Who's There? A Special Kind of Agent

The unmasking of Valerie Plame sheds light on the shadowy world of NOCs, spies with nonofficial cover

It's not every woman who runs a background check on a guy who's asking her out on a date. But if you were a secret agent working undercover, you would be extra careful too. In 1997 Valerie Plame was being courted by a man who had served as a U.S. diplomat in nine countries, many in Africa, and possessed about as high a security clearance as any spy could hope for, but Plame was taking no chances. It was only after several months of dating Ambassador Joseph Wilson that Plame, supposedly a private energy analyst, revealed the name of her true...

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