Former CIA officer Valerie Plame and her husband, Joseph Wilson, filed suit last week against Vice President Dick Cheney and other top officials, claiming they outed Plame as a CIA officer in order to punish Wilson for speaking out against the Iraq war. The lawsuit, which also names former Cheney aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby and presidential counselor Karl Rove, accuses the officials of violating Plame’s right to privacy and depriving her of her livelihood. In 2003, Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, wrote an article debunking the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein had sought to buy uranium from Niger. Soon afterward, conservative columnist Robert Novak wrote a column revealing the identity of Wilson’s wife, citing administration sources. The incident led to a grand jury investigation that resulted in the indictment of Libby on obstruction charges. Most legal analysts describe the Plame suit as a long shot, since officials enjoy broad immunity against civil actions.
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