Would Libby really have outed Plame without checking with his boss?
Or would Cheney, without checking with his?
Well, now that you put it like that...
For Plame junkies, here's an essential read about from Stratfor via Kos of the mutual obligations between NOCs (Non-Official Cover operatives) like Plame, and their country (as represented by the administration:
What we do know is this. In the course of events, reporters contacted two senior officials in the White House -- Rove and Libby. Under the least-damaging scenario we have heard, the reporters already knew that Plame had worked as a NOC. Rove and Libby, at this point, were obligated to say, at the very least, that they could neither confirm nor deny the report. In fact, their duty would have been quite a bit more: Their job was to lie like crazy to mislead the reporters.
Nothing like that in Miller's apologia, eh?
Rove and Libby had top security clearances and were senior White House officials. It was their sworn duty, undertaken when they accepted their security clearance, to build a "bodyguard of lies" -- in Churchill's phrase -- around the truth concerning U.S. intelligence capabilities.
If Rove and Libby even mentioned the name of Valerie Plame in the context of being a CIA employee -- NOC or not -- on an unsecured line to a person without a security clearance or need to know, while the nation was waging war, that is the end of the story. It really doesn't matter why or whether there was a plan or anything. The minimal story -- that they talked about Plame with a reporter -- is the end of the matter.
We can think of only one possible justification for this action: That it was done on the order of the president. The president has the authority to suspend or change security regulations if required by the national interest. The Plame affair would be cleared up if it turns out Rove and Libby were ordered to act as they did by the president. Perhaps the president is prevented by circumstances from coming forward and lifting the burden from Rove and Libby. If that is the case, it could cost him his right-hand man. But absent that explanation, it is difficult to justify the actions that were taken.
Yeah, we're not calling it TreasonGate for nothing.
NOTE I wonder why Bush would have suspended the security regulations to out Plame? Could it have been to safegard an ongoing domestic disinformation campaign run by the WHIG?
UPDATE I've organized this series of posts into a book. Click on the "Previous" and "Next" buttons to follow the story as it unfolds for us.