Valeria Plame is a former CIA employee married to Joseph Wilson and the center of the Valerie Plame Affair. In July 2003, her connection to the CIA was revealed by political columnist Robert Novak in his column.
Opponents of Operation Iraqi Freedom, particularly Democrats, accused the White House of "outing" Plame in retaliation for her husband's statement undercutting Bush's invasion rationale.
Much of the controversy of the affair centered on disputes over what her precise relationship was to the CIA, and whether any laws were broken when Robert Novak and Richard Armitage revealed the fact of her employment. Perhaps the key issue was whether anyone in the Bush administration deliberately revealed it as a way of retaliating against (or discrediting) Wilson.
Bush opponents have regularly taken the position that all these matters are beyond dispute and that Karl Rove, someone else close to the president, or the president himself is guilty - either of a crime or at least of a severe lapse of ethics.
Others have taken the contrary position, asserting that her CIA status either remains unclear or that she was never covered by the Identities Act; that no one who revealed her identity broke any law by doing so; that there was no political motivation on the part of administration insiders (or supporters) to harm Plame or Wilson.
Accusations of administration wrong-doing
At the time of the Novak column, Valerie Plame was a "covert CIA employee for whom the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States."  Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was the head the initial investigation. Justice Department and FBI officials requested a special prosecutor be named over concerns of the veracity of interviews with Karl Rove. Attorney General Ashcroft, having connections to Karl Rove, recused himself from the case and Acting Attorney General James Comey appointed special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the leak.
Robert Novak wrote:
- Armitage ... says he was mute because of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's request
- Zealous foes of George W. Bush ... cannot fit Armitage into the left-wing fantasy of a well-crafted White House conspiracy to destroy Joe and Valerie Wilson. The news that he, and not Karl Rove, was the leaker was devastating for the left.
Rebuttal of accusations
- Unclassified Summary of Valerie Wilsons CIA Employment And Cover History
- "Novak wondered why Waxman, others didn't ask about baseless Plame assertions." March 23, 2007, Media Matters for America. http://mediamatters.org/research/200703230014