CRAWFORD, Tex., Jan.1 -- The Justice Department investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's identity could conclude that administration officials disclosed the woman's name and occupation to the media but still committed no crime because they did not know she was an undercover operative, a legal expert said this week.
"It could be embarrassing but not illegal," said Victoria Toensing, who was chief counsel of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence when Congress passed the law protecting the identities of undercover agents.
Of course, George W. Bush doesn't seem to agree:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 — President Bush said on Monday that the unauthorized disclosure of an undercover C.I.A. officer's identity was a "very serious matter" and "a criminal action" as the White House announced that at least 500 of its 2,000 employees had responded to a Justice Department demand for documents as part of an investigation into the source of the leak.
The announcement — and Mr. Bush's adamant words — reflected a tougher public approach by the White House to the leak, which has been attributed to senior administration officials. Democrats have criticized the administration for not treating the disclosure of the classified information more forcefully.