A reader called to my attention this sentence  in a Washington Post report about the Obama administration outing the identity of the CIA Station Chief in Afghanistan (emphasis added):

The disclosure marked a rare instance in which a CIA officer working overseas had his cover — the secrecy meant to protect his actual identity — pierced by his own government. The only other recent case came under significantly different circumstances, when former CIA operative Valerie Plame was exposed as officials of the George W. Bush administration sought to discredit her husband, a former ambassador and fierce critic of the decision to invade Iraq.

Scooter Libby was convicted for lying to prosecutors and obstruction of justice in the Special Prosecutor’s investigation, under a contorted theory that nonetheless prevailed with a jury.  He was sentenced to jail, but the sentence was commuted by George W. Bush.

Libby, a close confidant of Dick Cheney, however, was not the leaker.

The leaker was an Iraq War critic in the State Department, Richard Armitage. Christopher Hitchens reported at the time:

As most of us have long suspected, the man who told Novak about Valerie Plame was Richard Armitage, Colin Powell’s deputy at the State Department and, with his boss, an assiduous underminer of the president’s war policy.

The prosecutors knew from the start who the leaker was, but went after those closest to the White House not for leaking, but for covering up a leaker the identity of whom already was known to the investigators.  It was a perjury trap.

The conviction of Libby was a travesty.

So too is WaPo’s continuation of the myth that pro-Iraq war Bush administration officials leaked the identity to punish a war critic.

 
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