For chromal, who was bugging me about it over the weekend, here's a couple of posts from Roger Simon and the Instapundit on the Wilson/Plame affair. My thoughts on the subject? Robert Novak is a lame paleocon who often tempts me towards extremes of characterization that he doesn't really deserve. He's a worthless tick of a Beltway pundit. Karl Rove is a ruthless and obnoxious political operator who's not as smart as he thinks he is. (They rarely are.)
The whole situation is the sort of stupid bumbling and clowning about that typifies actual Beltway "conspiracies", and doesn't strike me as one of the fevered productions of journalistic paranoia that are often retailed under that name. The points that Simon and Reynolds note (the lack of a significant upside to this "crime" for the perpetrator(s), the dottiness of using a Wilson to check on intelligence, the dubiousness of characterizing Plame as "undercover", etc) don't actually militate against the charges being true. In my mind, they make it more likely. After all, the Watergate burglary was a fairly pointless and lame waste of time on the part of the conspirators, which ballooned into a massive mess due to the coverup.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not comparing the two cases. For one thing, there doesn't seem to be any criminal cover-up going on that I can see. With the CIA thrashing about, I don't know that there will be, either.
I have to wonder about exacerbating circumstances at the CIA - the pressure they're under to subordinate to the Homeland Security Department has got to be sublimating in various ways that won't be immediately obvious on the surface.
Update: One Bo Cowgill comments on the Washington Post article. See also the Daniel Dresner post & thread from which I found the Cowgill post. Someone pulls up the language of the statute in play, and it seems to indicate that ignorance (of the operative's undercover status) *is* a defense in this case. It also appears from the Washington Post article that Plame may have been an analyst who occasionally did undercover work - which could have put the alleged source in a position of knowing her as an analyst and not an undercover asset.