Over the weekend, The Washington Post published an article suggesting that the White House deliberately outed an undercover CIA source to columnist Robert Novak in retaliation for the source's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, casting doubt on a Bush Administration story about Iraq trying to buy "yellowcake" uranium from Niger. Here's the money shot:
Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife. Wilson had just revealed that the CIA had sent him to Niger last year to look into the uranium claim and that he had found no evidence to back up the charge. Wilson's account touched off a political fracas over Bush's use of intelligence as he made the case for attacking Iraq.
"Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.
There has been a torrent of response; a good place to start is at the weblog of former unpaid Bush/Cheney adviser Daniel Drezner, who says the affair might cause him to "switch parties." The Justice Department is investigating the cover-blowing leak, which, if true, would be in violation of federal law.