Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Valerie Plame

Becoming A Spy

Camp Peary exit sign
Camp Peary exit sign
One morning in 1985, the year Plame graduated from Penn State, her mother, Diane, was reading the Philadelphia Inquirer. She saw an ad saying that the CIA was looking for new members. She mailed the clip to her daughter, who was immediately intrigued. As a teenager, she had exhibited what one could call strange interests for a girl her age, such as a fondness for William Stevenson's A Man Called Intrepid, an account of the World War II intelligence activities of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

At the time, she was searching for her calling. Many of her friends had already figured out what their chosen career path would be, but Plame wasn't so certain. When a trip to Florida over Easter break was cancelled, she gave the CIA interview a go.

After she passed the initial interview and security clearance, she was sent to Camp Peary, known within the Agency as "The Farm," in Williamsburg, Va., where CIA recruits are molded into agents.

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