Clandestine service officers working under such "nonofficial cover" - rather than the traditional guise of diplomat - are considered to hold the most sensitive and vulnerable jobs in intelligence, lacking the protection of diplomatic immunity if they are unmasked overseas. Disclosing the C.I.A. employment of officers under cover can endanger the officers, their operations and their agents, as well as violate the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, the law that prompted the current leak investigation.
"This situation has been very hard on her, professionally and personally," said Melissa Boyle Mahle, a former C.I.A. case officer and a friend of Ms. Wilson. "Not only have you removed from the playing field a very knowledgeable counterproliferation officer at a time when we really need her services. But before this she was on a fast track as a candidate for senior management at the agency. With something like this, her career will never recover."
The above is from Scott Shane's "Private Spy and Public Spouse Live at Center of Leak Case" in this morning New York Times. They front page it. There's one area of the article that I'll address this evening but it's the most comprehensive piece the Times has done (the only comprehensive piece).
We're quoting the above because the issue of crime goes to the government, not (sorry to disappoint) to Robert Novak. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act does not cover Novak (unless he's something more than a bad journalist). Poppy pushed and pushed for this but even with the sheen of Reagan, Congress (then) wouldn't have allowed it to cover journalists. For Reagan's remarks you can click here. Depending upon how much is known (historical) with regards to this act, we'll mention it or else go into it in depth tonight.
If you utilize the links, read the article. If you don't, we'll be discussing it in terms (this evening) that won't require that you do. But do note that finally the Times has done a lengthy, front page article on the outing of Valerie Plame.
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