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9.28.2003

Treachery 

So I missed this story when it first ran, but apparently back in July somebody blew the cover of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative. The author of the column, Robert Nowak, claims that Plame's identity was disclosed to him by "two senior administration officials." Intentionally disclosing a covert operative's identity is a felony.

The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate the allegations; a report can be found in the Washington Post. The claim is that Plame's cover was blown because Plame's husband, former US ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly challenged Bush's claim that Iraq had sought to purchase weapons-grade uranium from Niger.

Much more on this issue can be found at Daily Kos.

I've generally defended Bush's actions with respect to Iraq -- I supported the removal of Saddam Hussein, and I'm inclined to believe the scores of independent reports circulated by the conservative side of the blogosphere claiming that real progress is being made in the reconstruction of an Iraqi civil society, despite the generally negative reports published by the major media outlets. But if these reports about Plame and Wilson are correct, someone in the executive office has engaged in outright treachery. Bush himself may not have had anything to do with springing the leak, but his administration may be toast.

UPDATE: Unbelievably, there's still no mention of this on CNN.com, although it's been reported in several papers and all over the blogosphere.

UPDATE: Some sources (most notably the Washington Post and Nowak himself) appear to be retracting some of their words. Pejmanesque seems to think that there's a good chance the whole stench will blow over. Me, I'm just confused. Wilson originally said something to the effect that "I want to see if we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs, and I measure my words carefully," and now all of a sudden he's backing off from that rather explicit accusation. And Nowak can't decide whether or not people in the Bush administration did leak the information to him.

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