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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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October 4th, 2013
06:40 PM ET

Ex-CIA operative Valerie Plame: U.S. leans too much towards security, too far from privacy

The new book "Blowback" is a spy thriller written by someone who knows from spies – former CIA officer Valerie Plame. Plame became a household name when in 2003 her cover was notoriously blown by a member of the Bush administration.

The government invaded Plame's privacy, but she is also somebody who understands the importance of intelligence. The former spy said recent and ongoing NSA surveillance controversies should spark a debate in this country.

"This really should begin a serious discussion, a debate, about the proper balance and dynamic between security and privacy," said Plame.

Asked if the U.S. leaned too much towards security, and too far away from privacy, Plame said, "I believe so."

"I don't think the average American is really thinking of unintended consequences where the government is so invasive in our lives and in our privacy, that what happens when there's an overzealous prosecutor or, something Joe (Plame's husband) and I know a little bit about, political chicanery," said Plame.

Plame wrote her new book in part because she is disappointed with how Hollywood and the publishing world has generally portrayed female CIA officers.

"Female CIA officers are always portrayed in such a shallow fashion," said Plame. "They trade sex for intelligence, sex and guns. Which are good and fine, but if that's the only thing you trade on, I thought there was room to depict someone that was a little more realistic, but still entertaining."

Currently, one of the most popular CIA characters on television is that "Homeland's" Carrie Mathison, portrayed by actress Claire Danes.

"She's also trading in the sex a little bit," said Plame.

"She is mentally not well and the fact that she could somehow make her way through how many years of the CIA without someone noticing that" would likely never happen, said Plame.

The main character of Plame's book mirrors her career in the CIA. The story is set all over the world, in the many places where Plame lived, worked, or traveled, and focuses an Iran nuclear facility.

Plame said if her cover had not been blown, she would "absolutely" still be working at the CIA.

"I loved my career. I thought that if I was lucky, I would retire as a senior intelligence officer somewhere overseas, working on something I care about very deeply, nuclear nonproliferation," said Plame.

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