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Say what you want about the serious news function of satirical shows like "The Daily Show" in today's treacherous media landscape, but only those, like Jon Stewart, operating in the Comedy Central orbit can get away with asking ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson if her breasts "are still working for the CIA."

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The revelation that Richard Armitage first disclosed Valerie Wilson's identity as a covert CIA operative doesn't change the fact that it was Karl Rove and Scooter Libby who used that information in an attempt to punish Ms. Wilson for her husband's criticism of the Bush administration.

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The woman at the center of the CIA leak case "was no analyst or paper-pusher;" rather, she was chief of operations on the CIA's clandestine Joint Task Force on Iraq, which was heading up the CIA's intelligence hunt for Saddam's WMD. Thus, her outing by Bush administration officials was a serious breach of national security -- not to mention a career-killer. The Nation's David Corn has the scoop in his new book, "Hubris."

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Richard Armitage, Bush's former deputy secretary of state, has confirmed through a lawyer that he was the original source in the CIA leak case. But he says he had no malicious intent. He was just gossiping with reporters.

  • How does this fit in with the theory that the Bush White House leaked Valerie Plame's name as a revenge ploy against her husband? (Jump to find out.)
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    The first person to tell reporters that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA was not, apparently, someone in Dick Cheney's circle out to smear Plame as a way of getting back at her husband, who had criticized the administration. Rather, it was then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who didn't have an ax to grind, who didn't know Plame was an undercover operative, and who was apparently just passing on gossip, according to a new book.

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    "The Daily Show" host pointed out the hypocrisy in Sean Hannity's double standard on the ethics of leaking classified information, and slammed Robert Novak for making light of destroying CIA agent Valerie Plame's career.

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    From the AP: The CIA officer whose identity was leaked to reporters sued Vice President Dick Cheney, his former top aide and presidential advisor Karl Rove on Thursday, accusing them and other White House officials of conspiring to destroy her career.

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    Columnist Robert Novak revealed for the first time, in a column to be released Wednesday, that both Karl Rove and former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow had confirmed Valerie Plame's status as a CIA agent He said that this occurred only after another administration official first supplied him with the info This is not a huge deal, relatively speaking, but certainly of interest to Plamegate junkies .

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    The president told federal investigators that he ordered Vice President Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter the allegations made by former Ambassador Joe Wilson that the White House had misrepresented intelligence to make the case to go to war with Iraq, according to people familiar with Bush's statement, as quoted by Murray Waas of the National Journal.

  • If this story is correct, this not only links Bush with the CIA leak case, it puts him squarely at its helm.
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