The USA Today Gets a Clue… A Year Later

Never let it be said that the USA Today wasn’t a year behind the blogosphere:

CIA ‘outing’ might fall short of crime

WASHINGTON — The alleged crime at the heart of a controversy that has consumed official Washington — the “outing” of a CIA officer — may not have been a crime at all under federal law, little-noticed details [little noticed by the MSM -ed] in a book by the agent’s husband suggest.

In The Politics of Truth, former ambassador Joseph Wilson writes that he and his future wife both returned from overseas assignments in June 1997. Neither spouse, a reading of the book indicates, was again stationed overseas. They appear to have remained in Washington, D.C., where they married and became parents of twins. (Related story: Bush waits on Rove)

Six years later, in July 2003, the name of the CIA officer — Valerie Plame — was revealed by columnist Robert Novak.

The column’s date is important because the law against unmasking the identities of U.S. spies says a “covert agent” must have been on an overseas assignment “within the last five years.” The assignment also must be long-term, not a short trip or temporary post, two experts on the law say. Wilson’s book makes numerous references to the couple’s life in Washington over the six years up to July 2003.

“Unless she was really stationed abroad sometime after their marriage,” she wasn’t a covert agent protected by the law, says Bruce Sanford, an attorney who helped write the 1982 act that protects covert agents’ identities.

When I read it, I had to double check the dateline; it is today. Amazing. This has been well known in the blogosphere for well over a year. In fact, I mentioned below that I had ignored the whole Plame story before today because we new early in the story that she was not an agent. Has everyone at the USA Today been asleep?

Via one of the top 5 best named blogs in the blogosphere.

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