white house smear update
CalPundit and Mark Kleiman have been following the developments in the case of the White house apparently outing a covert CIA agent in response to her husband's pointing out that the Niger uranium contention was known to be bogus.
Newsday reports that the "intelligece officals" have confirmed that Valerie Plame, wife of retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was indeed a covert CIA operative when Administration officials outed her to columnist Robert Novak.
This unprecedented action is simply outrageous. Make no mistake about it: If Administration officials indeed blew the cover of a covert CIA agent to a journalist, they not only committed an odious act of the sort of destructive politics Bush pledged to eschew, but also committed a serious crime.
The article also quotes Ambassador Wilson as seeing the big picture behind the Administration's reprehensible action:
Wilson, while refusing to confirm his wife's employment, said the release to the press of her relationship to him and even her maiden name was an attempt to intimidate others like him from talking about Bush administration intelligence failures.
"It's a shot across the bow to these people, that if you talk we'll take your family and drag them through the mud as well," he said in an interview.
Aside from the dubious wisdom of engaging in a pissing match with theCIA, the Bush Administration's actions are not only egregiously loathsome, but categorically illegal. The two officials who blew Plame's cover should face criminal charges tout de suite -- a prosecution serious enough to motivate them to reveal who, if anyone, put them up to this action (and come on, I can see one official acting on his or her own, but two? One doesn't need a tinfoil hat to posit a pattern there...).
Update: Jeff Cooper comments.