July 19th, 2007
04:20 PM ET
7 years ago

Why Plame's CIA leak lawsuit was dismissed

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Earlier today, a federal trial court judge dismissed the civil lawsuit filed by former CIA employee Valerie Plame and her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson.

Judge John Bates explained in his ruling on Thursday that he was dismissing the couple’s suit because special considerations counseled against allowing them to pursue monetary damages against Vice President Cheney, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Richard Armitage.

First, Bates concluded that the couple could not sue for the disclosure of Plame’s identity because it appeared Congress had not intended that federal employees in Plame’s situation could recover damages against the federal government or its officials. Second, Bates dismissed the lawsuit because allowing it to proceed would likely cause “judicial intrusion into matters of national security” – matters which the Executive branch of the federal government has unique authority over. Finally, Bates noted that the couple had not filed the required administrative claim before coming to court. (Full ruling here)

The couple was seeking monetary damages because of the disclosure of Plame’s identity as a covert CIA operative. They have alleged that Plame was outed by the Bush administration as a consequence of Wilson’s criticism of the White House’s justifications for going to war in Iraq.

- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

Filed under: Dick Cheney • Scooter Libby • Valerie Plame
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Eric Roberts, Naperville

    What a crock...I wonder what party this Judge belongs to? I hedge a bet that he is a republican. No one is above the law regardless of what branch of government or what national security secrets it involves. I think it is time we take Thomas Jefferson's advice. This governemtn needs to go. It no longer serves the people...just it'self and the corporations that support it. Corporatism at it's finest. This is not what I served in the Army to protect. As a matter of fact, this is what I swore to defend againt...the domestic enemy. Looks like Abe Lincoln was right after all...our biggest threat is not from foriegn invasion, but from the enemy within...within our own government.

    July 19, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. Jacque- Rio Rancho, NM

    Please. All I have to say is what were her damages that she thinks she can get a monetary settlement from the Feds. When pigs fly sweetie.

    July 19, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    So in other words, the case wasn't thrown out due to a lack of a reason for going forward, but basically that this administration is untouchable? Once again, my confidence level for truth and justice in this country drops another degree.

    July 19, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. John, Ca.

    The names of our covert CIA operatives are National Security secrets, and those that would betray those secrets for political gain are traitors to this great nation!

    July 19, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. John

    "Please. All I have to say is what were her damages that she thinks she can get a monetary settlement from the Feds. When pigs fly sweetie.
    Posted By Jacque- Rio Rancho, NM : July 19, 2007 5:02 pm" What kind of American are you Jacque? If you think outing our people on secret assignment for political gain is OK, I think you should just move a little south of the border and keep going until you find that perfect banana republic that Bush is trying to turn this country into.

    July 19, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Bill, Albuquerque, NM

    Judge Bates was a Bush appointee of course. The Republicans put party above the law, and honestly it has been pretty successful for them Newt and De Lay were kings of this in congress, its to bad democrats can't fight fire with fire...they are way too timid.

    July 19, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  7. Joe, NJ

    This story never ceases to amaze me. Valerie Plame was never a CIA "covert operative." She was in an analyst position. This is nearly as funny as Joe Wilson being called an ambassador.

    July 19, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. Johnny

    "What were her damages??" Are you insane?? This was not some low-level aide going after a federal settlement because she felt she was unfairly fired. This was a CIA agent whose covert status was a valuable and closely guarded secret, a secret that was leaked for purely political motives, putting not only her life in jeopardy, but that of other covert agents in the field. Look, it's fine to post your opinions on a blog, but for God's sake, please make an effort to know what you're talking about before you post.

    July 19, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. disgusted in Staten Island

    There are three important facts in the case that people shouldn't forget.

    1) The judge is a Bush-appointee.

    2) The judge used to work as a partisan hack in Ken Starr's independent council office.

    3) The judge already illegally denied the General Accounting Office access to Dick Cheney's records about his illegal secret meetings with energy company campaign donors on energy policy.

    July 19, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. Scott Frederick, MD

    Excuse me....are all of the anit-Bush people just plain brain dead? Let's revisit what actually happened...alot of people point to the admiinistration, the fact in this affair is the culprit confessed to Mr. Fitzgerald at the BEGINNING of the whole investigation, Richard Armitage, a State Department political foe of Cheney, leaked Ms Plame's identity. You wanna hammer Bush on a number of issues, fine, I'll admit he has a number of legitimate things for people to go after, some I do go after as well, but even a child can see this is alot of barking up a wrong tree. How in the world did Ms. Plame think she was going to win her case when the "outed" leaker is not even part of her suit? She would look like a fool if Armitage got up on the stand...."No, no one in the White House directed me to mention her name, I did it by mistake and take full responsibility." The judge spared her.

    July 19, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  11. Steven, Brentwood California

    I'm so glad that there are smart federal judges in this country...What are you going to do next for publicity Plame ? Maybe you can have a reality show & whine for an hour every week.

    July 19, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. godiva

    I-M-P-E-A-C-H. N-O-W.

    July 19, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  13. Tom Dedham, Mass

    George Bush, Karl Rove or Dick Cheney did not leak her name.

    A well known Bush hater admitted he did, Richard Armitage. AP's Matt Apuzzo just reported this story but funny, they mentioned Armitage, but didn't say he was the leaker.

    Oh, I am sorry, Fox is biased, but all the other news outlets tell the WHOLE story.

    I apologize for my right-wing bias.

    July 19, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  14. Brian Tampa, FL

    "Secret assignment", please. This entire thing is political and financial. It makes me laugh how Dims constantly bark about being betrayed exploited and lied too only to embrace liars like Billary Clinton, Al Gore and Harry Reid. That my Dim friends is the text book definition of hypocrisy

    July 19, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. JS, Dyer, Tn

    Another example that we are living under a dictator and are too stupid to realize it.

    July 19, 2007 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  16. Ann M. Gutierrez, IL

    Bush will go down as the worse president ever in the history of the U.S.A. No one, absolutely no one is above the law...and the excuse of Natlional Security–give us a break. This is just to save Cheney, Rove and others butts. You know in whose pocket these judges are.

    July 19, 2007 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  17. Tom Z, fl

    Ms Plame was NOT a spy! She was NOT outed because she was never in. All she was was a paper pusher. Her identity was given by her husband. Her neighbors knew that she worked for the CIA. This was no big deal from day one...

    July 19, 2007 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  18. James Miller

    Remember what Abe is reported to have said: You can fool some of the people all of the people all of the time!

    July 19, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  19. Chris, San Francisco, CA

    She and her husband are clowns. They need to find something better to do with their pointless lives. Now that she has been "outed" all she wants to do is be on TV or in the headlines and try to damage the reputation of the smartest Vice President this country has ever seen. Someday we will know all the patriotic services he has provided in strengthening our country against terror.

    July 20, 2007 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  20. Kevin Snow, OKC, OK

    No matter if your a dem or rep
    doesn't matter to me what does matter when a president say's people that reveal national secrets should go to jail. joke "while saying this he leans back tell's Dick dosen't include us".
    People don't realize senator's
    congressman and the white house make there own law's that cover them and then there's the law for the rest of the people.
    This nation use to be We The
    People Hasn't been for a long time now it's US what's left over is for the people.

    July 20, 2007 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  21. Eric, Philadelphia PA

    [quote]What kind of American are you Jacque?
    Posted By John : July 19, 2007 6:38 pm[/end quote]
    There are Americans and then there are "My Vote is for Sale, you helped me to the top so I owe you" Americans. We have an example in the White House right now!

    July 20, 2007 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  22. Steve, DC

    It was thrown out because the entire case was a joke from the start. She wasn't a covert agent. Why can't people get that through their heads? She was a paper-pushing desk jockey who used her position to get her own husband a boondoggle at the expense of the American Taxpayer. All with the intent of undermining the Bush Administration. Thank god we have a president with a backbone.

    July 20, 2007 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  23. Chris Lundberg

    It's not just unfortunate justice can't be served in this country it's an outrage!!! America flies the banner of freedom, democracy, and other utopian ideals, but it doesn't practice what it preaches. Our government is no different from Putin, Chavez, or (formerly) Saddam's. It does what it wants, when it wants, however it wants regardless of the laws in place. Americans should revolt against our government, try them in an international court of law (since ours is evidently broken), and re-draft a government that works for the people and only for the people.

    July 20, 2007 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  24. Jennifer Huntington Beach, CA

    I am curious to know why people continue to say that Ms.Plame was not a covert officer? The C.I.A. have even said that she was covert, she testified under oath to the fact that she was covert and it has no been proven that she wasn't covert. The White House are the only people claiming that she was not a covert officer of the C.I.A. To anyone that says that this case is a crock of crap, you need to read the facts first. This woman now has lost her entire career because of the twisted thinking of this Admin. It's a shame that so many people can continue to believe this current Admin. and the president. Hurry up 2008! Let us American's be heard, we need change!

    July 20, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Tom, Mission Viejo

    Plame HAD been covert during her career but at the time of the leak was longer working 'under cover'.
    Thus, the leak of her name as a CIA agent didn't ruin her job. This is why Fitzgerald couldn't press any real charges in the case.

    July 20, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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