It would be funny, if...
If indeed Plame was a covert agent, why wouldn't the CIA take "affirmative measures to conceal" her identity? The answer may turn on the legal definition of covert. As we also noted in October, an employee is a "covert agent" for the purposes of the statute if and only if he "is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States." - James Taranto, OpinionJournal, July 12, 2004Of course, that's just a small sample of the righties who decided to echo that talking point. You probably won't be surprised to find out that they were all full of shit. Newsweek:
In the end, we will learn that Rove was not Bob Novak's source, Plame was not covert, and Joe Wilson remains a liar. - Mark Levin, The Corner, October 29, 2005
Plame was working a desk job at CIA headquarters. Furthermore, never mind that the secret identities of CIA covert agents are, in my experience as a foreign reporter, one and the same as the secret identities of Superman, Batman, and Robin: Everybody knows except for a few designated comic book characters. - P.J. O'Rourke, The Weekly Standard, July 9, 2005
The law (Patrick Fitzgerald is) allegedly enforcing, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, was almost surely not broken when Valerie Plame's identity was revealed by Bob Novak two years ago. According to numerous legal experts — including Bruce Sanford and Victoria Toensing, who helped write the law — the facts don't fit the requirements of the law. Valerie Plame wasn't a covert field operative... - Jonah Goldberg, Jewish World Review, July 8, 2005
As her weirdly self-obsesssed husband Joseph C. Wilson IV conceded on CNN the other day, she wasn't a "clandestine officer" and, indeed, hadn't been one for six years. So one can only "leak" her name in the sense that one can "leak" the name of the checkout clerk at Home Depot. - Mark Steyn, Chicago Sun-Times, July 17, 2005
So far Karl Rove appears guilty of telling reporters something he had heard, that Valerie Wilson (a k a Plame), the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, worked for the CIA. But because of several exceptions in the 1982 law forbidding the disclosure of a covert operative's identity, virtually no one thinks anymore that he violated it. The law doesn't seem to apply to Plame because she apparently hadn't been posted abroad during the five previous years. - John Tierney, The New York Times, July 19, 2005
Newly released court papers could put holes in the defense of Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, in the Valerie Plame leak case. Lawyers for Libby, and White House allies, have repeatedly questioned whether Plame, the wife of White House critic Joe Wilson, really had covert status when she was outed to the media in July 2003. But special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found that Plame had indeed done "covert work overseas" on counterproliferation matters in the past five years, and the CIA "was making specific efforts to conceal" her identity, according to newly released portions of a judge's opinion.Of course, accepting the truth requires a willingness to be a member of the reality-based community. Don't expect apologies.
Jane has the documents.