NBC has received a declassified report from the CIA which states that the agency considered Valerie Plame a “covert agent” at the time her identity was revealed to Robert Novak and other journalists in July 2003. The CIA declassified her status in order to pursue the criminal investigation into the leak, according to other documents from Patrick Fitzgerald’s independent counsel probe:
An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame’s employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was “covert” when her name became public in July 2003.
The summary is part of an attachment to Fitzgerald’s memorandum to the court supporting his recommendation that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney’s former top aide, spend 2-1/2 to 3 years in prison for obstructing the CIA leak investigation. …
The unclassified summary of Plame’s employment with the CIA at the time that syndicated columnist Robert Novak published her name on July 14, 2003 says, “Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for who the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States.”
They were? Plame drove into the office in Langley. She traveled abroad under her own name. She helped arrange for her husband to do some fact-checking on a sensitive intelligence matter. Her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, then came home and leaked his observations to two nationally-known journalists, and then wrote his own op-ed in the New York Times under his byline.
And her husband managed to list her in Who’s Who, where any journalist could look up the entry — and where Robert Novak did just that.
If that’s keeping an agent covert, it speaks volumes about the agency’s competence during the George Tenet years.
So now we have confirmation that Plame did get her cover blown. I suppose the only reason that Fitzgerald didn’t bother to indict Richard Armitage for the crime was that it would have meant explaining how the CIA tried to hide its NOC asset in plain sight.