KIDS AND MATCHES….Mickey Kaus directs our attention today to a 2003 Newsweek column by Howard Fineman in which he outlines the whole war-between-the-CIA-and-the-White-House background to Plamegate. It was a decent article then and it still is today ? in fact, it’s a better article now, because sometime in the past two years a copy editor finally decided to correct “Victoria” Plame’s name to Valerie.

Anyway, here’s the passage Mickey highlights:

I am told by what I regard as a very reliable source inside the White House that aides there did, in fact, try to peddle the identity of Joe Wilson?s wife to several reporters. But the motive wasn?t revenge or intimidation so much as a desire to explain why, in their view, Wilson wasn?t a neutral investigator, but, a member of the CIA?s leave-Saddam-in-place team.

Can I just point out that this doesn’t matter? Hell, it might even be worse than the revenge explanation. At least revenge is understandable, if odious. But to just casually expose a covert agent and wreck her career for no better reason than to explain a bit of background in a turf war? What secrets will Karl Rove and his pals expose next on double super secret background just because it’s slightly convenient to do so?