There’s no doubt the Bush officials deliberately revealed Plame’s CIA connection, if not her name, to the press. But the Plame leak could be characterized as inadvertent in one sense: the leakers, both in the State Department and the White House, did not know that Plame’s status at the CIA was classified when they mentioned her to reporters. That is why no one was ever charged with leaking her identity; they did not knowingly and deliberately reveal classified information. So in that sense it was all a mistake. Yes, it was inadvertent, colossally stupid, an embarrassment — but it was a mistake.
No matter. Pushed relentlessly by Democrats, the White House agreed to the appointment of a special prosecutor in the CIA leak case, which led to years of investigation — top Bush aide Karl Rove was called before a grand jury five times — and the conviction of former top Dick Cheney aide Scooter Libby on charges of perjury.
Now that a high-profile inadvertent leak is in the news again, perhaps it would be a good thing, just for memory’s sake, to go through some of the things that were said during the Plame affair.