PBS Newshour found a CIA veteran named Larry Johnson who trained with Valerie Plame and who says “she has been undercover for three decades.” [Update With the Washington Post reporting her age as 40, that must surely have been a slip for “over three decades”: i.e., the 80s, the 90s, and the current decade.]
I hope that means we’ve heard the last of Novak’s spin on the topic. And I hope that all the people who have been inventing fanciful theories and reasons for doubt, or arguing that more evidence was needed before coming to a conclusion, will now confront the facts as they are: that two top officials of the Bush White House revealed to at least seven reporters the name of a covert CIA officer, apparently as an act of revenge on her husband.
Johnson, who says he was a Bush contributor, adds “I tell you, it sickens me as a Republican to see this.” Transcript here.
This sort of reaction is why I’ve thought from the beginning that this scandal could do more damage to Bush politically than anything else I’ve heard of. People who naturally like Bush will naturally hate what was done here.
Update One of Kevin Drum’s commenters posts this lovely tidbit from Hardball (unlinked, and I can’t find it on line):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Don’t you think it’s more serious than Watergate, when you think about it?
RNC CHAIRMAN ED GILLESPIE: I think if the allegation is true, to reveal the identity of an undercover CIA operative — it’s abhorrent, and it should be a crime, and it is a crime.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: It’d be worse than Watergate, wouldn’t it?
GILLESPIE: It’s — Yeah, I suppose in terms of the real world implications of it. It’s not just politics.
Second update Now John LeBoutillier is off the reservation. On NewsMax, no less.
Who in this disciplined, top-down, well oiled White House would read Wilson’s op-ed and slam his fist down on the desk and proclaim, “That bastard is going to pay! What do we have on him? Let’s get it out there!” … Whoever authorized the Plame leak could possibly go to jail for this willful act of lawbreaking. And those who actually called the six reporters could also go to jail – unless they cop a plea and rat out others. … Preliminary reports are that there is a great dissension inside the White House staff over this leak. Many are described as ‘disgusted’ at the outing of Ms. Plame. … There is still the question of whether or not the Ashcroft Justice Department will honestly investigate the Bush White House…. if the Clinton White House had sold out an active-duty CIA agent as ‘payback’ for some whistle-blowing article, we would be outraged. This crime is no less serious because it was done in a Republican White House.
I know I didn’t write that stuff for the Boot. Must have been Atrios.