So why would I be pleased with Libby’s pardon? Because after leaving jail and investigating the case, I unearthed information that convinced me not only that my testimony was in error, but that Libby was the victim of an overzealous prosecutor whose investigation should have ended before it began.
I described my findings in a 2015 memoir about high-stakes journalism, “The Story, A Reporter’s Journey.”
The first thing I learned was that John Rizzo, the CIA’s former general counsel and an agency lawyer for over 30 years, disputed prosecutor Fitzgerald’s assertion that Valerie Plame had been a super-secret covert agent who was not well known outside of the intelligence community and that the leak of her name had caused grave, if unspecified, harm to America’s national security.
Rizzo told me in an interview and subsequently wrote in his own book that “dozens, if not hundreds of people in Washington” knew that Plame worked for the CIA. Even more significantly, he said, a CIA damage assessment of the leak had produced “no evidence” that her outing had harmed any CIA operation, any agent in the field, or “anyone else, including Plame herself.”