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December 12, 2005

Bye-bye to Valerie

Valerie Plame, the CIA agent whose outing led to a two-year-and-still-going investigation, retired from the agency Friday.

So far, the investigation has resulted in one indictment, against former vice president chief of staff Lewis Libby for lying to a grand jury investigating the leak of Ms. Plame's name; a continuing cloud over the future of presidential adviser Karl Rove; and the sullying of several journalists' reputations, including those of Judy Miller of the New York Times, Bob Woodward of the Washington Post and, now, Viveca Novak of Time Magazine.

It would take a Gone With the Wind-size novel to explain the ins-and-outs of the case at this point.

The main story line is that Ms. Plame's identity was leaked by vengeful Bush aides angry that her husband, Joseph Wilson, contradicted a central justfication for going to was against Iraq. "Her career was arbitrarily and whimsically destroyed by a mean political trick," said Vincent Cannistraro, a former chief of operations for the CIA's Counterterrorism Center upon her retirement. Also destroyed was the CIA front company she used as cover.

One of the giant questions, other than who told reporters about her CIA connection and why they did so, is how much damage the disclosures about her and the front company did to her overseas contacts.

Maybe special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who's still busy investigating, will yet fill in all the blanks.

Posted by jcb at December 12, 2005 02:32 PM