As the investigation tightens into the leak of the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, sources tell TIME some White House officials may have learned she was married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson weeks before his July 6, 2003, Op-Ed piece criticizing the Administration. That prospect increases the chances that White House official Karl Rove and others learned about Plame from within the Administration rather than from media contacts. Rove has told investigators he believes he learned of her directly or indirectly from reporters, according to his lawyer.As more and more information comes out from those who dealt with the administration and the intelligence regarding the lead-up to the Iraq War, the harder it becomes for the administration and its defenders to brush this incident under the table.
"After Pincus," a former intelligence officer says, "there was general discussion with the National Security Council and the White House and State Department and others" about Wilson's trip and its origins.
Accusations that these are merely attempts by administration critics to politicize the Iraq intelligence in order to attack the President ignore the fact that questionable on knowingly false information (the infamous 16 words) was used to weave the political argument for the Iraq invasion.