The L.A. Times and apparently everybody else got scooped by today's Washingon Post front pager on the Justice Department looking into the leak by "two senior administration officials" of Valerie Plame's status as a secret CIA operative. Plame is the wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, who some in the Bush White House were unhappy with for questioning the Administration's claims that Iraq had tried to buy "yellowcake" uranium for nuclear weapons. So in a revenge play somebody, apparently pretty high up, outed her to conservative columnist Robert Novak and shopped the story to other reporters. A sign that this revelation could have legs as a story is that even pro-Bush bloggers began this morning to pile on (provisionally) against the White House.
What was done here was thuggish, malevolent, illegal, and immoral. Whoever pedaled this story to Novak and others, in outing Plame, violated the law and put the lives of Plame's overseas contacts at risk. Compared to this, all of Clinton's peccadilloes look like an mildly diverting scene from an Oscar Wilde production. If Rove or other high-ranking White House officials did what's alleged, then they've earned the wrath of God. Or, since God is probably busy, the media firestorm that will undoubtedly erupt.
Let me make this as plain as possible -- I was an unpaid advisor for the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, and I know and respect some high-ranking people in the administration. And none of that changes the following: if George W. Bush knew about or condoned this kind of White House activity, I wouldn't just vote against him in 2004 -- I'd want to see him impeached. Straight away.