July 14, 2003 — Valerie Plame is outed as a spy

In one of the more astonishing displays of the Bush Government’s belief that it was above the law, Valerie Plame Wilson was exposed as an agent of the CIA by journalist Robert Novak of the Washington Post. In the fine tradition of Woodward and Bernstein, Novak subjected secret information he had obtained to the utmost scrutiny before deciding to publish it in the national interest.

I’m kidding, of course. Novak was a stooge for Richard Armitage at the State Department, who leaked classified information to Novak for what appear to have been two purposes: one, to prejudice the trial of Scooter Libby, a Bush White House staffer whose criminal trial was a great embarrassment to the administration, and two, to demonstrate to Plame and her fellows at the CIA, who had placed reporting the truth about Iraqi weapons plans above the desires of the administration for a casus belli, just who was in charge here.

That’s right: the United States government deliberately exposed one of its own secret agents, ending her career and endangering the covers of other agents, pretty much from infantile pique that this woman had the unmitigated gall to do her job properly, instead of in ways that were politically convenient for it. Not since Job has loyalty and trust been so unjustly repaid.

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