BACK TO BASICS….Having written 145 posts (and counting!) about Valerie Plame since my initial post on July 16, 2003, I find that I have a diminished capacity for churning out closely reasoned thousand-word analyses of ten-word sentences uttered by participants in the case. I’m not Michael B?rub?, after all.

However, it might be worthwhile to revisit some basics in response to the ferocious Republican spin hitting the airwaves now that Karl Rove has been caught redhanded as one of the Plame leakers. As longtime fans will remember, the story that first gave Plamegate real legs appeared in the Washington Post about two months after the original Robert Novak column that mentioned Plame and the David Corn column that called attention to it. Here’s what it said:

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….”Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge,” the senior official said of the alleged leak.

Got that? Two White House officials. Phone calls to at least six reporters. This wasn’t just a single offhand comment at the end of a phone call with Matt Cooper about welfare reform. It was Karl Rove and someone else systematically making sure they mentioned Plame to every reporter they talked to.

And since we’re getting back to basics here, here’s a question to ponder: who is the “senior administration official” quoted in this story? He obviously seems to know who the leakers were. Has he been subpoenaed? Dana Priest and Mike Allen, who wrote the Post story, know who he is. Have they been subpoenaed? They don’t seem to have been. How come?

So many mysteries on memory lane, so many mysteries….