Newsday reports that a federal grand jury has subpoenaed phone records from Air Force One in an effort to find who leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame to columnist Robert Novak. Plame is married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, among the first to publicly state that he could not corroborate assertions that Iraq tried to procure WMD in Africa.

No one states it as plainly as The Guardian in this story:

Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer, said he was trained 14 years ago with Valerie Plame, a specialist on weapons of mass destruction, whose naming by a Washington journalist quoting senior administration officials has triggered a criminal investigation of the White House.

The journalist who published Ms Plame's name, Robert Novak, said he was told she was an analyst and that although he was asked by the CIA not to use her name, he did not think it would endanger anyone.

Mr Johnson, now a business security consultant, vehemently disagreed.

"I was an analyst. She's not," he told the Guardian. "In any case, it is a red herring. Even when I was an analyst my own parents did not know who I worked for. The day we walked into the agency we were under cover and we only knew each other by last initials.

"She's under cover, working in a clandestine situation, and it was exposed for the sake of cheap, tawdry politics. Assessing the damage for this could be difficult and will take some time," Mr Johnson said.

"I'm a registered Republican and I'm sickened by this," he added. "I've spoken with four colleagues who have since left the agency who worked with her. And they are livid."

Ms Plame was named because she was the wife of Joseph Wilson, a critic of President Bush's policy on Iraq.


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