WHY OUTING AN AGENT IS BAD: A PRIMER….And while we’re on the subject of outing CIA agents, former agent Jim Marcinkowski adds a bit on the subject:

The exposure of Valerie Plame ? who I have reason to believe operated undercover ? apparently by a senior administration official, is nothing less than a despicable act for which someone should be held accountable. This case is especially upsetting to me because she was my agency classmate as well as my friend.

….Even if the operative and her agents are able to escape harm, what is the comfort level for other foreign nationals who may want to work with us, knowing that at any time they could be exposed by a political actor in the U.S.? That is why someone guilty of exposing an operative faces severe criminal penalties.

Exactly. Do you think foreigners are going to be harder to recruit as informants after this episode? Sure, they know the normal risks, but they probably weren’t counting on the additional risks of having a crew in the White House who take national security so lightly that they’re willing to casually endanger them for no special reason.

Max Boot is right about one thing: we do have problems in the intelligence community. And the irresponsibility of one or more members of George Bush’s staff have made it a lot worse. Why does he seem to care so little about it?

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