- The Washington Times - Friday, July 14, 2006

Valerie Plame yesterday accused the Bush administration of “shameful conduct” in the leak of information to reporters about her job at the CIA, saying the “outing” forced a premature end to her career at the agency.

“I and my former CIA colleagues trusted our government to protect us as we did our jobs,” Mrs. Plame said during a press conference formally announcing her filing of a lawsuit seeking damages in the leak against Vice President Dick Cheney, White House aide Karl Rove and Mr. Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

“That a few reckless individuals within the current administration betrayed that trust has been a grave disappointment to every patriotic American,” she said. “Joe and I have filed this action with heavy hearts but with a renewed sense of purpose.”

Mrs. Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, said in a lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia that Mr. Cheney and the White House aides violated their rights by leaking her name and CIA role to reporters and did so to “discredit, punish and seek revenge against” Mr. Wilson for disputing President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address justifying the war in Iraq.

Mr. Wilson said he undertook “two discrete missions” to the Republic of Niger to look into uranium-related matters, investigating accusations that Iraq had purchased or was in the process of buying uranium yellowcake. He said he found no evidence to support the accusations but contends Mr. Bush ignored the finding when he decided to go to war against Iraq.

Questions have since been raised on Mr. Wilson’s accuracy of statements that Mr. Cheney’s office had requested he be sent to Niger, whether Mr. Cheney and other senior White House aides were briefed on his report, whether the report was conclusive and significant, and who suggested he travel to Niger.

The couple’s attorney, Christopher Wolf, said the lawsuit “seeks to vindicate the wrongs that were done against the Wilsons,” adding that it asks for an unspecified amount of money “to be determined” during trial. He declined to comment on accusations that the Wilsons feared for their safety and that of their children, or whether any specific threats had been made.

Mr. Wolf told reporters that prior to the disclosure in the press, Mrs. Plame “worked secretly and privately and with protection of privacy in her job at the CIA,” which would be the case today had the leak not occurred.

“She was literally dragged into the public square by the leak to the media of her classified employment status,” he said. “That is a bell that can’t be unrung. … Having been outed by the administration, she can’t now be criticized for speaking out … for pursuing this lawsuit to vindicate that invasion of her privacy.”

Mrs. Plame’s CIA role was revealed in a July 14, 2003, article by syndicated columnist Robert Novak eight days after Mr. Wilson wrote an article for the New York Times saying the Bush administration ignored intelligence on Iraq to justify going to war.

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