Gary Farber points out a New York Times piece that, while going out of its way to kiss Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet’s ass, indicates Valerie Plame had a ‘non-official cover’, which is CIA-speak for “Plame posed as a civilian expert under her own name while actually working for the CIA.”
Now, assuming this is true, the obvious question is why anyone with Robert Novak’s phone number in their Rolodex would know this. Novak may have some cachet as a columnist, but his shifting politics over the years suggest he should have few friends in this—or any other—administration. It’s even more puzzling why her CIA job would apparently have been common knowledge in Washington circles if Plame did have a non-official cover—or, for that matter, why an undercover operative would draw attention to herself by making donations to political candidates that must be disclosed to the public by law.
Frankly, I think the only way this mess is going to get sorted out is if the FBI and/or Congress follow Glenn Reynolds’ suggestion and start subpeonaing the journalists involved in breaking this story, starting with Novak. And, if they don’t like it, maybe they should put the heat on their sources. And, in the end, I suspect these sources will look a heck of a lot more like David Kelley than Karl Rove—two small fish whose reputations were puffed up to make a story sound more sensational than it really was.