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The fact that Valerie Plame Wilson was betrayed by her own government — by minions working on behalf of the President of the United States — for their own, personal political purposes which were considered more important, more expedient, more necessary than overall national security concerns?  Definitely deserving of a LOT more discussion.  From the Waxman hearing (via WaPo):

"But all of my efforts on behalf of the national security of the United States, all of my training, all the value of my years of service, were abruptly ended when my name and identity were exposed irresponsibly."

Plame said she was "shocked by the evidence that emerged" in the Libby trial about the leaking of her identity.

"My name and identity were carelessly and recklessly abused by senior government officials in both the White House and the State Department," she testified. "All of them understood that I worked for the CIA. And, having signed oaths to protect national security secrets, they should have been diligent in protecting me and every CIA officer."

She said the harm done by blowing a CIA cover is "grave," but that she could not provide details in her case. In general, she said, such breaches have endangered CIA officers, destroyed networks of foreign agents and discouraged others from trusting the U.S. government to protect them.

"We in the CIA always know that we might be exposed and threatened by foreign enemies," Plame said. "It was a terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover." She added that testimony in the Libby trial "indicates that my exposure arose from purely political motives."  (emphasis mine)

As Rep. Paul Hodes pointed out so clearly during the hearing, one inadvertent statement might be a mistake, two or three might be sloppiness, but twenty or more directed slips of the tongue exposing a CIA NOC indicates a concerted effort on the part of a whole lot of folks.  That those folks worked for the President and Vice President of the United States?  And there has been no internal investigation into the security violations, no sanction whatsoever internally — no corrective action for Karl Rove, who still holds a full security clearance even after admitting to leaking information about Valerie Wilson to Bob Novak and others?

That is appalling and beyond careless and reckless…and goes straight to the heart of why I am not ready to make nice.  Not by a longshot.

Patriotism is not something that you dust off and just trot out for public rallies and displays.  It is not a flag pin on your lapel.  It is not some nifty turn of phrase in a speech that someone else crafted for you to give to a hand-picked audience of your monied cronies and true believers.

Patriotism is what you do when the tough choices are staring you in the face.  And, as Brent Budowsky ably points out, the people who exposed Valerie and distorted intelligence to their own vision of how they wanted to view the world are not patriots:

The CIA leak case is not about Joe Wilson, or Valerie Plame, or whether one supports or opposes the Iraq war. The CIA leak case is about integrity and truth in intelligence, which is essential in defeating terrorism, in winning wars when we must fight them, and avoiding wars when we should not fight them. The CIA leak case is about honor and patriotism, about protecting those who serve bravely and covertly, just as we should stand completely behind men and women in uniform.

The CIA leak case is about the need for strong human intelligence, a need that is urgent and has been urgent for more than three decades.

The CIA leak case is about the obsession and ideology that disrespects facts, and disrespects truth, and declares Mafia-like vendettas against those who make good faith and professional efforts to ascertain them. The CIA leak case is about using partisan and political pressure to distort and pervert the search for truth, which is what good intelligence is all about, and the CIA leak case is about what goes wrong when these cardinal principles, time honored for every intelligence service on earth, are violated….

This…case is about principles and values far larger than the moment, it is about the declaration of war against truth, against honor, against facts, against our security itself by those who endangered the brave, and now seek pardon for the guilty.

In the world of intelligence it is the truth that sets us free, and the truth that keeps us safe.

It is the truth, as much as the identities, that we must always protect, at all times, at all costs, even at the risk of our lives, as those who seek the truth, to serve our country, risk theirs.

Let's talk a little bit about accountability and consequences.  Because I am sure not ready to make nice.  Not by a long shot.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com