It seems that Valerie Plame Wilson was indeed a covert operative covered under the Foreign Intelligence Identities Protection Act. In a memoradum filed with the federal court handling the Libby case, Patrick Fitzgerald wrote: <blockquote>It was clear from very early in the investigation that Ms. Wilson qualified under the relevant statute (Title 50, United States Code, Section 421) as a covert agent whose identity had been disclosed by public officials, including Mr. Libby, to the press.</blockquote> This memorandum undercuts the assertion that since Richard Armitage, Karl Rove were the sources for Bob Novak's column, 'Scooter' should be given a break since his prosecution was "purely political". Knowing who leaked Ms. Plame's identity to Novak didn't end the case however, as there were a number of unanswered questions. Libby's repeated misleading of FBI investigators and prevarication effectively blocked inquiries into a conspiracy behind the leak, which could have led to Dick Cheney's office, thus the prosecution for perjury and obstruction of justice. Fitzgerald concludes the memorandum with the following: </blockquote>Early in the investigation...the critical issue remained as to precisely what the particular [administration] officials [who leaked] knew about Ms. Wilson's status and what the officials intended when they disclosed her identity to the media. Moreover, in assessing the intent of these individuals, it was necessary to determine whether there was concerted action by any combination of the officials known to have disclosed the information about Ms. Plame to the media as anonymous sources, and also whether any of those who were involved acted at the direction of others. This was particularly important in light of Mr. Libby's statement to the FBI that he may have discussed Ms. Wilson's employment with reporters at the specific direction of the Vice President.</blockquote> In essence, th FBI was investigating whether or not Dick Cheney had been involved in the leaking of covert CIA asset's identity during, as this administration is so fond of pointing out, a time of war. The repeated false statements made by 'Scooter', pursuant to this investigation made them a subject of investigation. You can find the full text of the memo in PDF format <a href=http://noquarter.typepad.com/my_weblog/files/libby_governments_sentencing_memo.pdf>HERE</a>. The truth is inconvenient, and painful as Fiztgerald is recommending Libby be sentenced to between 30 and 37 months for his crimes.