On the November 21 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Mary Matalin, a former assistant to President Bush and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney, was the latest among many defenders of the administration to repeat the unsupported claim that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV himself disclosed the identity of his wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame. Criticizing special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak, Matalin asked, "What's the crime here?" She contended that "[e]verybody in town knew that, and who outed her was her husband -- 'my wife, the CIA wife' and all this stuff." Matalin offered no evidence to support her assertion that Wilson himself had introduced his wife in public settings as a CIA employee.
Media Matters for America has previously debunked several iterations of this rumor (here, here, and here). Purveyors of this rumor include former CIA operative Wayne Simmons, who claimed that Plame was "traipsed" and "waltz[ed]" around Washington by Wilson, who introduced her as "my CIA wife"; and Fox News legal analyst Andrew P. Napolitano, who reported that "at least one" of his Fox News associates heard Wilson present Plame as "my CIA operative wife."
The October 28 indictment of Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby -- charging him with perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice in the course of the leak investigation -- explains: "At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie [Plame] Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson's affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community."
From the November 21 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning:
MATALIN: What's the crime here? Everybody in town knew that, and who outed her was her husband -- "my wife, the CIA wife" and all this stuff. No crime, big gossip, politics, he's attacking us, we're answering him, and somehow people are in jail and a guy's career is ruined. Does that make sense to you?