When Robert Novak outed already outed CIA operative Valerie Plame the CIA reacted by asking the Justice Department to investigate the leak and see if any laws were broken. After two years the only law broken turns out to be the alleged lying by Scooter Libby to investigators about a crime that didn’t occur. Giving the name of a covert agent to the press is against the law but even the woman that wrote the law said that Plame was not covert, and as others have shown her association with the CIA was well known as she had already been outed by her husband Joe Wilson, the CIA itself, and others. As this would have been obvious to the CIA what it sought to get the leakers on was, as Fitzgerald has said, that the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified and leaking classified information to the press is illegal. One other thing to consider in all this is that national security was in no way endangered by this whole affair.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at secret prisons in several other countries. Now, if true, that would certainly fall under classified information, and giving that information to the press would certainly harm national security. This could open the U.S. to legal challenges in foreign courts, cause a backlash here and abroad, and cause us to loose facilities that may be producing valuable information and saving countless lives now and in the future. The EU has already formed a commission to look into the allegations since some of the prisons are supposedly located in Eastern European countries. Of course the Post doesn’t care about national security as long as it can hurt Bush, but does the CIA? Will these leaks by “officials familiar with the arrangement” be investigated? We shall see.
Update: The Justice Department has received a request by the CIA to investigate the leaks, it’s in their hands now.